Water a major concern in controversy for Keystone XL Pipeline

The Ogallala Aquifer is a major concern in the battle over the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

The aquifer is one of the world's largest underground sources of fresh water. it runs through eight states -- including Nebraska, where the pipeline route has drawn fears of an oil spill that critics say could contaminate the entire system.

The aquifer is “a very fragile ecosystem, literally made of sand," activist Jane Kleeb said in a television interview, The Washington Post reported. "To have a pipeline crossing that region is just mind-boggling.”

TransCanada initially proposed a route in which 92 miles would come near the aquifer. The route has since been revised to move away from the Ogallala, drawing support from at least one prior critic.

"A spill wouldn’t be nice, but it would certainly be restricted to within a half-mile of the pipeline," James Goecke, a hydrogeologist, told the Post. He now says he is "embarrassed" that he appeared in an TransCanada, for which he wasn't paid.

Tribes in South Dakota whose reservations are near the aquifer have voiced concerns about the potential for a spill. The Keystone 1 Pipeline already had a spill that affected the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Get the Story:
Keystone XL pipeline may threaten aquifer that irrigates much of the central U.S. (The Washington Post 8/7)

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