Gov. Heineman’s October 12 Letter
The text of (NE) Gov. Heineman’s Oct. 12 letter to Secretary of State Clinton (reported on yesterday in most newspaper coverage) is below. Thank you to the governor’s office for providing a copy of the letter.
Dear Secretary Clinton:
I am writing to provide you information regarding Nebraska and the development of the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline (sic), since your department is the lead agency preparing an Environmental Impact Statement consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act. I understand and respect that this is a federal regulatory decision. However, any pipeline development in Nebraska must be done in a prudent and environmentally safe manner.
Almost 300 miles of the proposed pipeline will come through Nebraska and be situated directly over the Ogallala Aquifer. This aquifer provides water to farmers and ranchers of Nebraska to raise livestock and grow crops. Nebraska has 92,233 registered, active irrigation wells supplying water to over 8.5 million acres of harvested cropland and pasture. Of the total cropland harvested during 2007, 46 percent was irrigated. Maintaining and protecting Nebraska’s water supply is very important to me and the residents of Nebraska. This resource is the lifeblood of Nebraska’s agriculture industry. In 2008, cash receipts from farm marketings contributed over $17 billion to Nebraska’s economy and five percent of the United States total. Nebraskans are concerned that the proposed pipeline route could contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer and I share that concern.
I encourage you to thoroughly review and evaluate the materials, input, and comments that you have received to ensure that if the pipeline is approved, that an appropriate and safe route will be chosen, and it will be properly constructed, carefully operated, and well maintained so that Nebraska’s natural resources are protected.
Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.