I read in last week’s York News-Times that the York County Commissioners will be asked to consider zoning regulations and resolutions for pipelines.
I also saw notice of a pipeline meeting in York at Chances ‘R’ on Thursday evening, put on by concerned citizens of York County.
So what’s the big deal about the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, and as a York County resident should you be concerned?
Well, the answer to that question is; The Keystone XL pipeline is a big deal with very serious consequences and, yes, you should be concerned as it will go through the entire length of York County from north to south and come within a few miles of York’s city limits.
TransCanada will tell you that the pipe is not a big deal because we have thousands of miles of pipelines already, that it will bring “friendly” Canadian oil to the U.S. and with it thousands of jobs and much needed property tax revenues.
What they are reluctant to tell you is exactly what is being pumped through the pipe (until it leaks), that there is not one single inch of 36-inch high pressure DilBit pipeline in Nebraska, that the oil is not owned by Canada but by many foreign oil companies that have bought up the tar-sand oil production, that the number of jobs in Nebraska after construction will be about 15 and those will be in the Omaha area, and that property taxes in York County will cease after 15 years while the lifetime of the pipe is 50 years.
They also won’t tell you what a worst-case scenario would be in case of a spill, nor were they willing to tell you about the meetings they had with Nebraska law enforcement.
Not until an organization called Bold Nebraska filed a freedom of information act request for details of that meeting did we find out TransCanada was informing law enforcement of how to deal with, in one example, terrorist threats if Nebraskans interfered with pipeline construction.
TransCanada told the York News-Times that its DilBit oil floats on water, but that has been proven incorrect. They told us the oil would be “highly unlikely” to be exported and this too has been proven false. They have told us the price of gasoline will go down, but studies have shown the price of fuel in the Midwest could actually increase after construction of the “XL” as it would sell for more money once it reaches the gulf.
Now a group of York County residents is taking action, much needed action after our state leaders have bought into TransCanada’s claims while ignoring the devastating risks to our land, our water and our rights.
Ask people in Marshall, Mich., who suffered the consequences of a million gallon spill where citizens got ill and houses had to be abandoned forever, if they could go back and attend a meeting like York ‘s, I can only guess the answer would be a rousing “Yes!” The same for residents in Mayflower, Ark., who are right now dealing with the serious damages of DilBit oil spill.
If you are concerned about your family’s health, our water, our rights and what we can do to protect ourselves in York County, then you need to attend Thursday’s meeting.
City and county officials, first responders, heath care employees, you all need to be there too, or are you already fully prepared to handle a toxic DilBit spill in our area? How are you going to treat victims when this benzene-laced poison comes flowing down Beaver Creek just as it did down Talmadge Creek in Marshall?
So what is the big deal and should you be concerned? If you are only concerned about how many billions the foreign corporation TransCanada will make off the pipeline running through York County, then the answer is, no big deal, I am not concerned.
If you want to hear from local York County residents who are trying to protect all of us, then find an hour in your schedule and go to Chances ‘R’ at 6 p.m. Thursday. See for yourself if county and city officials will be there, as they too will have to deal with the risks of this pipe for decades to come.
Since Rep. Adrian Smith, Senators Johanns and Fischer and Gov. Heineman have all fallen in lockstep with TransCanada, the responsibility to protect our communities has fallen onto we the people.
Make no doubt about it, this is a big deal.