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MSNBC's Ed Schultz comes out against Keystone XL pipeline

MSNBC host Ed Schultz speaks during the One Nation march on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on October 2, 2010 in Washington, DC.
MSNBC host Ed Schultz speaks during the One Nation march on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on October 2, 2010 in Washington, DC.
Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images

Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” today dramatically came out in opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Schultz admitted he was wrong in favoring Keystone XL as recently as three weeks ago. In the intervening days, Shultz traveled to Nebraska and interviewed many people on both sides of the Keystone XL debate, including farmers, land owners, executives of TransCanada (the Canadian company behind Keystone XL), native Americans in the affected area and others. Schultz devoted significant portions of “The Ed Show” during this time to Keystone XL coverage.

The Keystone XL pipeline is Canada’s proposed method to transport Tar Sands oil from Canada through the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico, primarily for refining and export to other countries. Schultz stated today that he changed his mind about building the Keystone XL pipeline through the northern U.S. (South Dakota and Nebraska) due to the risk to the Ogallala Aquifer, which covers much of Nebraska and other states, and which is the largest fresh water aquifer in the United States. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska (portions of the pipeline south of Nebraska have already been approved by President Obama) would run right over this critical water supply, which is only feet below the land surface. The Ogallala Aquifer is used not only for drinking and other home activities, but is the critical source of water for numerous farmers. According to Schultz:

This pipeline, if it's constructed, just like every other pipeline, it will leak.... The first XL pipeline leaked.... Well this one, it's going to be bigger, it's going to be carrying something a heck of a lot different, it will leak.... So the question is this America: Do you want to risk, does the President of the United States want to risk, damaging the aquifer, and I'm talking about irreversible damage. This isn't something the oil companies are going to be able to come in and fix the aquifer, no. When that oil, if and when it does get in there, now what are we going to do? You are going to make void the farm economy in this part of the country.... Mr. President, are we so energy void that we have to do this? I would love to see the President of the United States go to Nebraska, and talk to the folks on the ground, and find out exactly how far down that aquifer goes, and what an oil spill would do, and what the ramifications would be.... The Keystone XL pipeline that would go over the Ogallala Aquifer, is one of the biggest energy risks this country will ever take.... Mr. President, say 'no' to this project.

Schultz further stated that, by rejecting this portion of the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska, President Obama could send a strong message on climate change. Critics of Keystone XL have asserted that the pipeline would significantly increase climate change by speeding the flow of oil to Gulf Coast refineries, and making it easier for countries to continue their dependence on oil.

There has been a massive amount of lobbying for and against the Keystone XL project. March 7 is the last day to file comments with the U.S. State Department regarding the Keystone XL pipeline construction. Last Sunday, nearly 400 anti-Keystone demonstrators were arrested in front of the White House. According to Schultz, one group will hand deliver a petition with 1.5 million signatures against Keystone XL to the State Department tomorrow. The State Department plans to make a formal recommendation on approval or disapproval. President Obama has stated that he plans to make a decision on Keystone XL in the next few months. Meanwhile, a poll on “The Ed Show” website today indicates that nearly 90 percent of respondents think the Keystone XL pipeline is not worth the risk.

© 2014 Matthew Emmer -- All Rights Reserved

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