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Posts tagged "nebraska"

This cloud formation over Lincoln, Nebraska will blow your mind.

Judge called the Govenor’s actions to change the law illegal. Excellent coverage by the AP.


It’s March, which means the sandhill cranes are back to roost at Nebraska’s Central Platte River.

Photo by Chris Helzer/TNC. 

Read more at the Prairie Ecologist.

Wow! Wish I could see this beautiful spectacle.

Despite the protests and arrests and warnings against building a 2,100 mile oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, Obama is on track to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

Now, mainstream media is (disingenuously and lazily, imo) drumming up speculation that the President might back out of approving the pipeline.

This is false. He’s already approved nearly half the line, and has clearly stated his intentions on signing the deal. Indeed, half the pipeline is nearly completely built and Obama toured construction and gave a support speech earlier this year:

“Today, we’re making this new pipeline from Cushing to the gulf a priority,” he said, while the northern portion requires additional review.

“But the fact is that my administration has approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines over the last three years, including one from Canada,” Mr. Obama added. “And as long as I’m president, we’re going to keep on encouraging oil development and infrastructure, and we’re going to do it in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people.” Obama, March 2012. Via NYTimes.

Today, the media is intentionally ignoring his clear statements and unwavering intent. Why? Why is the media creating a false theater? Why would Obama (or any president) back-out of a $7 billion project halfway?

A recent article by USNews sums up the faux issue:

Obama is facing increasing pressure to determine the fate of the $7 billion Keystone XL project, with environmental activists and oil producers each holding out hope that the president, freed from the political constraints of re-election, will side with them on this and countless other related issues down the road.

Environmentalists have had very little success in stopping the line from being built. My best guess of what will happen:

  1. Obama approves the line quickly. He will restate his past comments, and remind us that the line is necessary. To my mind, this is most likely to happen. He’s simply waiting for an environmental assessment and species conservation reports. Once they’re complete, he’ll sign off on the second half of the line. Environmentalists will balk, and try to sue.
  2. Delay due to lawsuit. I doubt there is a strong enough case to be made against this pipeline. Despite the length, the project has a relatively small physical footprint. Environmentalists will most likely sue under either the Endangered Species Act or the Migratory Bird Treaty. It’s possible they’ll try to get an injunction against the DOI, but this is real big stretch. There are already thousands of miles of pipelines cross-crossing the US, Mexico, and Canada. So, they’d have to show this line is exceptionally special. Worse, for environmentalists wanting to sue, TransCanada has been working with the USFWS and DOI on bird and other endangered species conservation plans. In fact, a near final draft conservation plan was released in August, 2012 here (PDF)
  3. Obama may delay, but only to cow-tow to certain states, not environmentalist’s objections. To my mind, this is the least likely of the three scenarios. He’ll accept objections not from environmental groups, but from states like Nebraska worried about the impacts on the Ogallala Aquifer; or Texas, which is (superficially) concerned with giving private property away to a foreign company. However, these states have already filed their objections with the administration, and Obama jumped, delaying the line for up to a year. I do not see that happening again.

The pipeline is going to be built. Don’t let the press fool you.


Uh-oh! Here come the creeping tendrils of the big bad federal government that some conservative politicians love to hate until they desperately need its help:

Gov. Dave Heineman says he’s willing to seek additional state money from the Legislature if needed to help pay for firefighting in drought-parched Nebraska.

Heineman said Wednesday he wouldn’t be surprised if more money is required to reimburse local fire departments and other agencies for their expenses.

Wildfires sparked by dry lightning have scorched tens of thousands of acres in central and western Nebraska. State officials say they don’t yet know the exact cost, but Nebraska Emergency Management Agency assistant director Al Berndt estimates that the state has spent around $7.5 million so far.

Berndt says his agency started the year with about $10 million available for emergencies. He says state officials will start conducting damage assessments next week to see if Nebraska can qualify for federal aid.

"The company planning the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline has proposed a new route through Nebraska that avoids the state’s environmentally sensitive Sandhills region.

Calgary-based TransCanada submitted a series of proposed routes — including a preferred alternative — late Wednesday to Nebraska environmental officials.

The state has become a focus of concern for the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. President Barack Obama blocked the pipeline earlier this year, citing uncertainty over the Nebraska route, which would travel above an aquifer that provides water to eight states.”

Via WaPo

Posted without comment.

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today released the following statement in support of Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s request to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deny the proposed route for the Keystone XL pipeline:

I support Governor Heineman’s request that President Obama and Secretary Clinton deny the current application from TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline along a route crossing Nebraska’s Sand Hills and the center of the Ogallala Aquifer,” said Johanns.

"The proposed route is the wrong route. It’s clear to me, after traveling throughout the state, that most Nebraskans agree a better route is needed. "Amid much discussion about authorities, one thing is irrefutable and that is the State Department’s authority to approve or reject TransCanada’s current permit application. The Governor has now unequivocally stated that the application should be denied; I agree. TransCanada should be forced to select a more appropriate pipeline route.”

Source: Sen. Mike Johanns

Flood berm collapses at Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun nuke plant; facility shut down since April

"FORT CALHOUN, Neb. — A berm holding back floodwater at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station has collapsed.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it’s monitoring the Missouri River flooding at the plant, which has been shut down since early April for refueling.

The 2,000-foot berm collapsed about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, allowing the swollen river to surround two buildings at the plant. The NRC says those buildings are designed to handle flooding up to 1014 feet above sea level. The river is at 1006.3 feet and isn’t forecast to exceed 1008 feet.

The NRC says its inspectors were at the plant when the berm failed and have confirmed that the flooding has had no impact on the reactor shutdown cooling or the spent fuel pool cooling.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will visit the plant Monday.”

Source: The Republic

Recall the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has, since April, told the public the plant is safe, see NYTimes, Reuters, etc. 

According to the NRC’s Burnell, the added flood barriers will protect the plant even if the river rises beyond where it is currently projected to go. 

Recall last week, when I wrote, twice, that the FAA closed airspace above the nuclear power plant due to a fire. 

More soon. 

Nebraska Lawmakers Plead with Secy. Clinton to Delay Huge Oil Pipe Line Keystone XL Decision

-Solve Climate News. The pipeline goes from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. 

-Flood gates and sandbags have been put in place along the Missouri River in Omaha to combat rising flood waters. The river is expected to crest near Omaha at record levels between 30 and 35 feet in late June. AP reporting.