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Keystone XL → Climate Change → Flooding → Damage to Keystone XL

Ah, the circle of LIFE….

The Keystone XL pipeline will increase the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. Climate change is bringing more intense flooding to Nebraska. More intense flooding will bring more damage to pipelines like Keystone XL:

Standing on the banks of the Keya Paha River where it cuts through his farm, Bob Allpress points across a flat expanse of sand to where a critical shut-off valve is supposed to rise from the Keystone XL pipeline once it’s buried in his land. The Keya Paha flooded several weeks ago, and when it did, the rush of newly melted water drove debris, sand and huge chunks of ice deep inland, mowing down trees and depositing a long wall of ice 6 feet high and 30 feet wide across Allpress’s property.

“It would’ve taken out their shut-off valve,” Allpress said of the river flooding. “Right where they propose to put it at. And it wouldn’t have been a good thing.”

…After the damage [landowner Byron “Stix”] Steskal saw from the spring flooding, he worries that Keystone XL, once it stretches 6,000 feet through his land, won’t be buried deep enough to prevent erosion and damage from the water.

“I’m sure that with all the smaller creeks that the proposed TransCanada pipeline crosses, that with an open cut, each one of those smaller streams would have showed that the pipe was bare, and then you have also trees and debris along with ice coming down there,” he said. “What’s going to happen is, it’s gonna wash out that pipeline that’s underneath the Eagle Creek” [Neela Banerjee, “Midwest Flooding Exposes Another Oil Pipeline Risk—on Keystone XL’s Route,” Inside Climate News, 2019.05.16].

But does the guy rural Nebraska supported give a rip about their risk? Nah:

A former oil-field worker and avowed Republican, Allpress, like many local landowners, has long opposed the pipeline, which would pass through floodplains and erosion-prone land. Now, the catastrophic spring flooding that devastated parts of Nebraska has swept that threat into the spotlight, as the Trump administration works to fast-track construction by overriding environmental reviews [Banerjee, 2019.05.16].

Electing Trump feels more and more like rural America taking a kamikaze dive into a bogeyman battleship.


  1. Jason Shald 2019-05-22 11:58

    “A collection of some of the water crossings of the Keystone One illustrating water and erosion concerns. Notice that you can see the route by the soil and temperature changes and how it affects plant growth, erosion patterns, and water flow.”

  2. Debbo 2019-05-22 16:19

    “Electing Trump feels more and more like rural America taking a kamikaze dive into a bogeyman battleship.”

    Vivid description of I n s a n i t y .

  3. Rebecca 2019-05-22 20:24

    It’s really time that ALL South Dakotans stood up and said “Heck No” to this pipeline.

    From the county governments having to deal with this fiasco–including, for some, thousands of itinerant pipeline workers in man camps two and three times the size of their nearest communities–to the ranchers getting their land seized and liens suddenly placed on their land.

    And then there’s every single person concerned with preservation of resources for future generations (or even for themselves) with TC asking for hundreds of millions of gallons of *our public* surface and subsurface water to supply this project and to drill pipe underneath several tributaries to the Missouri River.

    And what do we get? A couple of permanent jobs. A major crackdown on our constitutional rights. And a decades-long threat to our ability to actually live here. With the track record of leaks on Keystone 1, why on earth would we want to take a second bite of that apple?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-23 05:57

    Wow, Jason—around 1:30 and 2:00, that video shows some remarkably stark images of the pipeline path, clearly marked by the altered vegetation. Thanks for sharing that video!

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-25 16:00

    And I couldn’t agree more with Rebecca. We’re getting darn little for our trouble out of Keystone XL. It’s almost as if Kristi Noem realizes this, so she’s going to transfer her frustration and take it out on the citizens who tell her how wrong she is, the citizens who realize Keystone XL is a boondoggle, the citizens who will rally to protest this waste of precious land and water.

  6. Robert McTaggart 2019-05-25 18:32


    What say you with regard to natural gas pipelines, since we are using natural gas (a fossil fuel) to back up our renewables, for home heating, and for agriculture?

    The natural gas we import largely comes from North Dakota, and 90% of it continues directly by pipeline to Minnesota. Agriculture is our largest consumer of natural gas according to the Energy Information Administration.

    It may be of interest that the state has no underground natural gas storage facilities at all (or above-ground storage facilities for that matter).

  7. Robert McTaggart 2019-05-26 18:52

    Protests occur in New York regarding the delivery of natural gas for home heating.

    “We are either going down the path of 100 percent renewable energy or we are going to be spending billions of dollars going in the wrong direction building out fracked-gas infrastructure.”

    The problem is that 100 percent is not viable today. Only relying upon intermittent energy is not feasible…neither technically nor politically. That is true even just for home heating.

    Geothermal heating is one of the alternatives for home heating by natural gas. Unfortunately, nobody is paying for that conversion. If the intermittent delivery of heat is not sufficient to protect people during harsh winters, you will need reliable electricity to deliver the geothermal energy.

    I am guessing the protesters don’t like nuclear, so much of that electricity to power geothermal heating will ironically be coming from….wait for it…wait for it…natural gas.

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