The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality's completed study of the Keystone XL route was given to Gov. Dave Heineman. Within 30 days, we will know if he will give his stamp of approval for the latest proposed route in Nebraska, which still crosses the aquifer nearly the entire distance across our state. The U.S. State Department will make the final decision on whether the XL tar sands oil pipeline will be allowed to cross into the country.

From numerous testimonies at public hearings, it is clear water and the aquifer are key concerns. NDEQ continues to claim spills will remain "localized," even though it is clear NDEQ does not have enough research on the Ogallala Aquifer to support that claim.

My testimony at Dec. 4 NDEQ hearing: "Your information regarding movement of benzene in groundwater was based on a model from the California EPA. How can this be accurate for Nebraska? … (In) a letter written by an NDEQ groundwater geologist dated April of 2012, the question is asked, 'If a site has been cleaned up, isn’t the contamination gone?' The answer: ‘Unfortunately, no: At many of these sites, it’s not economically feasible or technically practical to remove all the contamination.'

"The letter goes on, and in reference to contaminated groundwater, she states: ‘Some groundwater plumes in Nebraska extend for three or four miles off-site.’”

This is the shortest route for TransCanada; it is not the best route for Nebraska. If the XL pipeline is forced upon our state, the only sensible option would be to stipulate that it parallel Keystone I in Eastern Nebraska.

I urge people to please take the time to contact the decision-makers to make their opinions and concerns known.

Cindy Myers, Stuart

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