TransCanada biologist disputes claim that Keystone XL pipeline would harm endangered whooping cranes

Keystone XL

Two whooping cranes browse a cut corn field along the Platte River Valley in Buffalo County, Nebraska.

LINCOLN — A biologist employed by TransCanada is disputing contentions that new transmission lines associated with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would harm endangered whooping cranes.

Jon Schmidt, a Florida-based regulatory consultant for the pipeline firm, said that the 36-inch, crude-oil pipeline would require only about 20 miles of additional electrical transmission lines (to serve pipeline pumping stations) across Nebraska.

That, Schmidt said, represents only a .4 percent increase in the 5,471 miles of transmission lines that already exist in the migratory corridor used by the cranes, representing a “very minor” risk to whoopers.

Keystone XL

Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route. The World-Herald

The written testimony, submitted earlier this week, rebuts testimony filed a month ago by Paul Johnsgard, a retired University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor who has written extensively about whooping cranes.

Johnsgard said that the new electric transmission lines required by the XL project would “significantly” increase whooper deaths from collisions with the lines.

When asked about the rebuttal on Wednesday, Johnsgard agreed that the risk was small but said that losing even one of the endangered cranes wasn’t worth it.

“I don’t regard even a slight danger as something that should be ignored,” he said, adding that power line collisions are the No. 1 cause of death for whoopers.

TransCanada is seeking permission from Nebraska for a 275-mile route for the Keystone XL across the state. Several pumping stations will be built, which will require building electric transmission lines to them.

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Keystone XL: Texas turf war

Seems like every day brings a potential new threat to the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of whooping cranes. Now Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW) has learn that the infamous Keystone XL Pipeline is going through Julia Trigg Crawford’s ranch in northeast Texas. The pipeline and its several branches generally follows much of the whooping crane migration corridor through Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada and the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Pipelines occasionally have spills and catch on fire. If an oil spill or fire or other tragic events occurred during migration of the whoopers, it could cause havoc. FOTWW views the pipeline as another potential threat to the only remaining self-sustaining whooping crane population on the planet. We invite you to review this video, released by This American Land, about the Keystone XL pipeline and tell us what you think? Please let us know. Thanks. FOTWW

Video >> Keystone XL: Texas turf war


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