Skip to main content

Mike Johanns

Another Nebraska Republican is joining the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, the planned conduit from Canada's tar sands fields to refineries in Texas. Last week, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman wrote to President Obama and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton in opposition to the pipeline, which could potentially endanger the state's Ogallala Aquifer, a critical water source for the state's agriculture industry.

Today, Sen. Mike Johanns joined Heineman in urging Obama to reject the pipeline proposal.

“I support Governor Heineman’s request that President Obama and Secretary Clinton deny the current application from TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline along a route crossing Nebraska’s Sand Hills and the center of the Ogallala Aquifer,” said Johanns. “The proposed route is the wrong route. It’s clear to me, after traveling throughout the state, that most Nebraskans agree a better route is needed.

“Amid much discussion about authorities, one thing is irrefutable and that is the State Department’s authority to approve or reject TransCanada’s current permit application. The Governor has now unequivocally stated that the application should be denied; I agree. TransCanada should be forced to select a more appropriate pipeline route."

Note that neither Heineman nor Johanns are opposed to the idea of a pipeline, it's a pretty classic case of not-in-my-backyard. Sen. Ben Nelson joins them in that, though he says a route through Nebraska but not over the aquifer would be acceptable (although a look at the maps suggests that finding a route through the state that's not over the aquifer would be a challenge). Thus far, he's passing the buck on opposing it to Heineman.

But it's NIMBY for good reason. The Ogalla Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is one of the world's largest, stretching from South Dakota to Texas. It provides an astounding 30 percent of the groundwater used in the nation for irrigation. That's because 27 percent of the irrigated land in the U.S. lies over the 174,000 square mile aquifer. Of particular concern to the people who live in those 174,000 square miles is the fact that 82 percent of them drink its water.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:58:49 AM PDT

  •  Please give Bill McKibben's new post a Rec (7+ / 0-)

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:33:06 PM PDT

  •  because Republicans oppose it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the President might listen!

  •  The Ogalla Aquifer (5+ / 0-)

    is one of the world's largest, stretching from South Dakota to Texas.

    No...really...let's build a nasty oil pipeline RIGHT OVER IT.

    Color me STUNNED a Repub would be against this, of course the NIMBY factor does loom large in it.

    Can you imagine the tauntings he will get from other repubs:

    "Tree Hugger!" "Nature Boy!"

    "Aquifer lover!"

    Republicans HATE America. Deal with it. / It's the PLUTONOMY, Stupid!

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:34:41 PM PDT

    •  I'll take stopping with NIMBY if that's what (5+ / 0-)

      it takes for now.  Agribusiness and food vs oil companies....nasty fight. Pass the Nebraska grown popcorn!

      Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

      by SallyCat on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 03:01:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does Ben Nelson want to run it (0+ / 0-)

        through downtown Omaha?  Buffett would not be pleased.

        That said, the pipeline would be above ground, and I'm not sure a spill from it would be too hard to contain.  There are better objections to the project.  At the same time, if gas just keeps getting more expensive, it might someday become profitable enough to run one over the rockies or east through Canada.  Anything to delay drilling the sands is good, but short of the Canadian government declaring them off limits, which they won't do, i'm deeply pessimistic.

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 03:10:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So now Dems can use the talking point gimmick (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clarknt67, coffejoe

    that Ben Nelson always gifts to Mitch McConnell:

    There is BIPARTISAN opposition to this!

    Will they use it though? Doubtful.

    "I can't vote for it because it doesn't have enough votes."

    by Dopeman on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:35:41 PM PDT

  •  But, I heard that Chu has already approved it! (0+ / 0-)

    Read it just today.  

    Frankly, I hope that more people from all of the states along the route will weigh in on this.

  •  So, pretty much this is Obama (0+ / 0-)

    afraid to look like he cares about the environment.


    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:43:58 PM PDT

  •  The pipeline is ridiculous, it should be opposed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewley notid, Laconic Lib

    especially by a democratic president!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:44:26 PM PDT

  •  J'ever notice how with these Repubs (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, SallyCat, jennyp, Laconic Lib

    it's all "Drill, baby, drill" and "Burn, baby, burn" until it turns into "Not In My Backyard!"

    I don't care what anybody says....Obama is the best Republican president in my lifetime.

    by jazzmaniac on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 02:44:59 PM PDT

  •  That aquafiler used to supply the drinking water (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, Loge, Laconic Lib

    before the farmers poisened it with fertilizers, and weed killers. I drank fresh well water piped into our house when I grew up in NE. The well was fed by that Aquafiller. Not many people in the area I grew up use well water any more because of the contamination, now most everyone gets their water piped in,

  •  Well, That's Different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewley notid, Laconic Lib

       If Heinemann, Johanns, and God knows, Ben Nelson are against it, then Obama can't go forward. These aren't hippies--they're Very Serious People voicing bipartisan opposition. Can't go ahead now, old boy--wouldn't be cricket, you know.

  •  NIMBY not all bad -- (0+ / 0-)

    It is potentially hypocritical -- like the delays foisted on the Cape Wind project, but...

    The people with the most at stake are also the ones most motivated to raise the issues that need to be considered.

    If you are not opposed to tar sands oil per se, the environmental issues of the pipeline itself percolate to the top.  If there are nasty and desolate places where a pipeline won't bother much of anything even if it explodes and gushes oil by the boatload, better to run it there than someplace where it could pollute freshwater for miles around.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 03:42:50 PM PDT

  •  Canada's tar sands contain too much oil to use... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewley notid

    We will have exhausted the atmosphere's ability to absorb CO2 long before significant amounts of these vast reserves oil could ever be used. Building this pipeline is not economical or logical.  The aquifer is not the real threat. These tar sands are within spitting distance of the permafrost range, a geologic feature that is practically the only meteorologic buffer we have if the polar ice sheet degrades much further. The permafrost range is a phase-change medium. Once its thaw rate exceeds its refreeze rate, it will do so suddenly, like when you add too much water when your mixing plaster. It just turns to mush, quickly. If it begins to degrade permanently it will begin releasing CO2 into the atmosphere at ever-increasing rates matching its accelerating thaw rate. It will become a self-feeding, quickly-accelerating cycle. These rates of addition to the atmosphere will dwarf anything we do with the tar sands since we're already undoing millions of years of carbon sequestration (coal, oil and deforestation) and the permafrost is another piece of the pie that we haven't found extractable for our own uses. I guess the peat bogs kept us busy enough that we overlooked the permafrost.

  •  Does everyone understand that by report, this tar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    sands crud is being sent to refineries that will process it for EXPORT.  If the report is correct, the US is merely a conduit for a product that will be shipped to other countries.  At a risk that is literally incalculable should the (inevitable) disaster befall.  There is no way the pipeline can function without significant incident.  Since when has ever?

    "There is nothing harder to dislodge than entrenched privilege." Jake Blumgart

    by CarolinNJ on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:04:05 PM PDT

    •  It Sure Makes Zero Sense (0+ / 0-)

      We import most of our oil from the Middle East and yet we are going to take oil from Canada, refine it and then send it across the world to our economic rivals all the while risking the very real possibility that we may poison our land so badly we will not be able to feed ourselves.

      Perhaps a case could be made that the pipeline is worth the risk if the oil was entirely for the US and we could dramatically cut back on our oil imports from people who don't like us. But this is just about  some oil companies who are already richer then god trying to make a few more bucks. Only in are corrupt system could this have a genuine chance of happening.

  •  No doubt there's a repugnant backstory (0+ / 0-)

    The Nebraskans probably favor an alternative route that will somehow enrich their cronies.

    2010: An Unforced Error Odyssey

    by Minerva on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:38:02 PM PDT

  •  How about (0+ / 0-)

    Build a refinery closer to the source?????

    “I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

    by Dose o Reality on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:48:56 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site