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SCIENTISTS: 64% of Nebraska's groundwater within 1 mile of projected tar sands pipeline

16 Jun 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Clean Water

University of Nebraska scientists John Gates and Wayne Woldt appealed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a June 6th letter to continue to postpone construction of the tar Keystone XL, warning that more research is needed to access the economic and environmental outcomes of the project. 

Gates and Woldt, who study groundwater flow and contamination in the High Plains Aquifer System noted that the route of the Pipeline, which travels through 92 miles of Nebraska’s sandhills, locates the pipeline within 1 mile of 64% of Nebraska’s groundwater wells and 10% of wells in other states involved. The highly permeable soil and near-surface groundwater also exacerbates risks should the pipeline develop a leak. 

“Uncertainty about crude oil plume behavior in waters of the Nebraska sandhills region has practical implications,” Gates and Woldt write. “We feel that it is highly desirable to study contaminant risks in the sandhills in a more thorough and systematic way.”

The scientists’ concerns parallel those made on June 8 by the EPA to the State Department.

View the full letter to Secretary Clinton here.

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