The Council of Canadians and Food & Water Watch are concerned that the proposed Keystone Pipeline, which would transport Alberta’s oil mined from shale to Texas refineries, could be used for water removal from the Ogallala aquifer. The Ogallala aquifer is located in eight states in the high plains region of the U.S., extending from South Dakota to western Texas. It is seriously overdrawn due to the current rate of use, according to the Water Encyclopedia. If the current rate of use continues, it could be depleted in a couple of decades.
TransCanada pipelines operations director Jim Krause testified at the Nebraska state assembly months ago that the proposed pipelines could be used to mine or transport water from the Ogallala aquifer.
Jim Krause said at the hearing that “if the pipeline is not needed for oil somewhere down the road and there is no other use for any other product to go through that pipe, let’s say gasoline, or maybe by that time in the future, water, then the pipeline needs to…follow very stringent processes to be taken out of service.”
David Brauer from the Ogallala Research Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has been quoted in media reports saying, ‘The Ogallala supply is going to run out and the Plains will become uneconomical to farm. That is beyond reasonable argument. Our goal now is to engineer a soft landing. That’s all we can do.”
“This revelation further confirms the need for the Keystone Pipeline to be stopped,” says Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians and Food & Water Watch. “TransCanada is showing us just how deeply interconnected the water and climate crises are by trying to dramatically expand the tar sands, the fastest growing source of climate change pollution in Canada, while seeking to profit from water shortages caused by climate change.”
“It’s widely recognized that the Ogallala, which serves as the breadbasket of the U.S., is already in dire straits. The fact that pipeline proponents are already considering using the Keystone pipeline for water proves just how irresponsible this project is in its entirety,” says Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.
Photo: Flickr user tarsandsaction