Nebraskans Seek Support Against Keystone XL
United Methodist Women members are invited to join Eastern Nebraskans mobilizing against the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline in a series of actions leading up to U.S. State Department public hearings on the pipeline’s environmental impact April 18 in Grand Island, Neb.
Bold Nebraska, the Sierra Club, 350.org and area farmers, including some United Methodist Women members, will gear up for the public hearings with a barbeque, rally and prayer vigil April 17 at Jim Tarnick's farm in Fullerton, about two and a half hours west of Omaha. Kathleen Stone, United Methodist Women executive for economic and environmental justice, is scheduled to speak at the prayer vigil.
The groups are urging supporters who can attend the Nebraska hearings to sign up for the event at www.350.org. Those who cannot attend the event can help the groups reach their goal of gathering one million comments against the pipeline by April 22 to submit to the State Department.
Also planned is an April 16 press tour of several farms that the pipeline would run underneath, including the farm of United Methodist Women member Joyce Beelaert and her husband Robert.
“My husband and I have been farming and ranching for over 50 years. The pipeline would go across our pastures … right across the aquifer,” said Ms. Beelaert, a member of Page United Methodist Church in Page, Neb. “Nebraska is fortunate to have the Ogallala Aquifer beneath us. We depend on it for our livelihood. We oppose the pipeline because of the danger of leaks and spills into our water sources and contamination of the environment. We are concerned about the health of our citizens.”
Ms. Beelaert asked United Methodist Women sisters to help by contacting their elected officials to oppose the pipeline and by educating themselves about tar sands and the planned pipeline.
Tar sands oil, a heavy crude oil mixed with sand, clay and bitumen, produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventionally produced oil because of the energy require to extract it from the sands and process it for use. The United States already imports about 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day from Canada. The Keystone XL pipeline owned by TransCanada would carry up to 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, across six states—Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas—to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.