Last Keystone XL Hearing Brings Passionate Debate
Last Keystone XL Hearing Brings Passionate DebatePhoto: Video by kmtv.com
Grand Island, NE -- They made their point quite clear. "This thing just makes me so mad I want to cuss," said pipeline opponent Ernie Fellows. They're fed up with the federal government. "Every subcontractor you have hired has had a very distinct conflict of interest," said Fellows. "Is that standard policy in Washington? It should not be. That's illegal. If I can, I'm going to sue you over that."
Testimony stretched well into Thursday night although most of the heated debate started earlier in the day. Hundreds packed the room in a last ditch effort to make sure the State Department hears why President Obama should or should not approve the plan to pump oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Most are concerned about the environmental impact and land rights. Those in favor spoke of the ability to generate millions of dollars in local sales and property taxes. They say a pipeline is the safest mode of transportation for oil; it will create jobs, and give us cheaper gas.
Michael Whatley who heads the Consumer Energy Alliance says oil from the XL would be cheaper per barrel than the Middle Eastern oil it would replace. Some aren't convinced of the economic impact and are willing to die, to keep Keystone XL out.
"We run this state," said Fellows. "Nobody else. And if I have to give my life blood, I'm going to lay down in front of them damn Caterpillars and let them run over me to keep this pipeline from being built."
TransCanada says it will follow an additional 57 regulations to make sure the pipeline stays safe. The State Department will take these recommendations to the President. He'll make his decision later this year.