Here is the nut of the report:
The alternative [along the existing Keystone pipe route] is about 234 miles longer than the proposed Project route and would affect about 3,200 more acres than the proposed Project route when considering the 110-foot-wide construction ROW, extra work spaces, additional contractor and pipe yards, and additional access roads over that distance.
Express-Platte Alternative 1 would also affect more wetlands, developed land, forested lands, rangeland and grassland, agricultural land, and federal lands as compared to the proposed route. It would also cross more streams and rivers and would extend across approximately 439 miles of the NHPAQ system as opposed to the 247 miles of the proposed route that would extend over the aquifer (see Figure 4.3.3-2). The alternative would cross approximately 31.9 miles of the Sand Hills topographic region as compared to 68.1 miles for the proposed Project.
In comparison to the proposed route, Express-Platte Alternative 1 would cross fewer miles of the Sand Hills topographic region. However, it would be substantially longer, have a greater area of impact, affect more areas of key resources, and would extend over more land underlain by the NHPAQ system. Therefore, the Express-Platte Alternative 1 would not offer an overall environmental advantage over the proposed route and was eliminated from further consideration.
That, friends, is a reasoned, scientific argument.
Here is what is NOT an argument:
The Sandhills are a treasure!
The Aquifer is special gift!
Corporations are evil!
Are you following?
Let us lay it out here, as we see it:
The report the Sierra Club pushed by the UNL prof talked about how a spill could reach Omaha or Kansas City and how awful it would be, etc. But he was talking about a spill at a river — which is where the majority of spills take place.
He wasn’t talking about the Ogallala Aquifer.
The UNL professor who DID talk about the Aquifer and any potential spill (in front of a legislative committee of Republicans and Democrats who were all allowed to question him) said:
“When people say the whole Ogallala Aquifer is at risk, they’re wrong.”
We paraphrase him, but much of that had to do with the Aquifer being a “river” not a “lake”, and any spill flowing “downstream”, and the flow being very, very slow.
OK, so where were we? Ah yes.
- Main risk of a spill: at a river.
- Those who say whole Aquifer is at risk: are wrong.
- Rather take a shorter route than a longer route.
- Proposed longer route crosses more rivers and streams, still crosses the Sandhills and also crosses aquifers.
Here is your main argument for not wanting the Keystone XL Pipeline:
The Canadian Tar Sands Oil is super bad for the environment, I don’t care if the oil goes to China and I think it is fine if America gets its oil from Iran and Venezuela because we will all be driving electric wind cars in the very near future — maybe next year! — and so who cares about oil.
And we will say this again: You can move the pipeline to another route and Jane Kleeb and her far-leftist liberal groups will still hate the oil and fight against it. The pipeline argument for them is just another way to stop ALL of the oil from ever being extracted.
To the rest who think the other route is better, and still want the oil in the pipe: We get your argument. We just don’t find it persuasive. And moreover, there has been very little argument to your argument.
And please leave the words “precious”, “treasure” and “special gift” for 2nd grade girls discussing unicorns.
(Didn’t want to jam together two very separate posts today, so see Part 1 here.)