Farmers to Clinton: Slow Down on Pipeline Project

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It’s been a few weeks since we checked in on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands down to refineries in Texas. Farmers and landowners in the states along the 1,661-mile pipeline‘s proposed route have raised concerns about the impact of potential spills or leaks to the Ogallala aquifer, which provides irrigation water to much of the Great Plains.

Last week, the National Farmer’s Union, the second-largest organization representing farmers in the United States, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to delay approval of the pipeline until there are assurances that the land and water in the region will be adequately protected. The group’s president, Roger Johnson, wrote in a letter obtained by Mother Jones:

The protection of our groundwater resources is critical not only to continuing farm operations, but as a source of drinking water for the vast majority of rural residents. NFU opposes any infrastructure or resource development that jeopardizes the health, safety and quality of the Ogallala and other freshwater aquifer resources. Given the inherent corrosiveness of the type of petroleum that the Keystone XL pipeline is intended to transport, the health of groundwater resources in the Ogallala and many other freshwater aquifers could be placed in jeopardy.

Because of these environmental and health risks, we urge you to delay approval of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline until farmers and ranchers are guaranteed adequate environmental protection. NFU supports an understandable process that clarifies when and how eminent domain can be used and who has what liability when there are damages from pipeline failure. We urge you to utilize every resource available to you to safeguard the natural resources upon which our nation and our family farmers, ranchers and rural residents depend.

Last month, the State Department granted more time for consideration of the project, and last week the agency issued a supplemental environmental impact statement (though enviro groups argue that it still does not thoroughly examine the potential dangers of the pipeline). There will now be a 45-day public comment period and a 90-day comment period for other federal agencies, like the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, to weigh in on the pipeline project.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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