This is in response to the Mini Editorial and a Letter to the Editor in the March 12 Journal, both supporting the Keystone pipeline.
The Ogallala aquifer that the pipeline would intersect is a large aquifer supplying nearly all the water for residential, agricultural and industrial use in eight High Plains states. It is also a shallow aquifer, with depths varying from surface level to 300 feet below the surface.
Two million people and countless livestock depend on the aquifer for drinking water and other purposes. Spills - and there will be spills sooner or later - would pollute the aquifer with chemicals like benzene, which is a potent carcinogen. There would be no way to clean up the spills and prevent oil from migrating to the Ogallala aquifer. Have some in the Midwest taken on a Third World mentality, where a paycheck is all that matters? There is no substitute for clean water.
One of the March 12 writers favors going forward with Keystone because he fears explosions near his home when railroads carrying oil pass nearby. Maybe he should relocate. Unreasonable? Think about two million people having to relocate because their water and soil is polluted.
Recent TV ads by Keystone XL try to reassure us that Keystone would be safe "because the pipeline is underground." In the case of the Ogallala aquifer that only means the pipeline would be closer to the water source when a spill happens. - Robert Schwarz, Sioux City