Keystone XL Pipeline Forum
On Tuesday evening, Brad Stevens of Americans for Prosperity and Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska visited a joint delegation of Cornhusker Boys’ State and Girls’ State to debate for and against, respectively, the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline through the state of Nebraska. The debate was moderated by Omaha’s KETV News Anchor Rob McCartney. Brad Stevens staunchly supports the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, stating that it is a “safe project” with “economic benefit,” and will create 20,000 jobs for Nebraska. Jane Kleeb countered his arguments, stating that the proposed route of the Keystone XL Pipeline is not the “safest route,” but rather is the “cheapest route.” Rather than crossing the Missouri River, Kleeb noted that the proposed route brings the pipeline across several other water sources for the state of Nebraska, including the Platte River and the Niobrara River. Kleeb went on to state that the number of jobs in the region may increase during the construction phase, but that those jobs are only temporary, and will shrink drastically after construction, when the focus will be solely on maintenance.
Stevens assured the delegation of the safety of the project, citing the track record of existing pipelines running through our state. He also noted that should disaster strike, the potential for it to be of high damage and destruction is extremely low due to the thick, unrefined texture of the crude oil. A leak, he says, would be in terms of yards, not miles; such viscous material is unable to leak with significant velocity. Stevens further alluded to the safety of the project saying that compared to the other pipelines in Nebraska, this one would be more sophisticated in nature, with electronic sensors, and newer, thicker sections of pipe. Kleeb was skeptical as to the integrity of the pipe, as the production would be outsourced and imported into the United States. She also voiced concerns with regards to the intended purpose of the crude being moved through the pipeline. According to Kleeb, this oil would be refined outside of the United States and then exported elsewhere, therefore interrupting the supply and demand of fuel within our borders. Her logic reasons that since gas prices are set regionally and this pipeline would divert oil out of the Midwest, supply in this region would decrease, thus driving up fuel costs. Stevens expressed his doubts as to whether or not the fuel would be exported to other countries and continents, arguing that it just wouldn’t be a practical approach for TransCanada.
In summary, Stevens feels that the benefits for jobs and the economy strongly outweigh the risks, while Kleeb feels that this project could jeopardize our agricultural land and water supply and is not worth the risk.
Cornhusker Boys’ State and Girls’ State were pleased to welcome Cornhusker Boys’ State Alumnus Brad Stevens, Florida Girls’ State Alumna Jane Kleeb, and Louisiana Boys’ State Alumnus Rob McCartney to this joint session.