Landowners challenge Keystone XL pipeline with new construction

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By Tim McNicholas


Updated: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 08:32:00 CST

They've been outspoken against the Keystone XL Pipeline from the start. They've rallied from Nebraska all the way to Washington. But with Governor Heineman backing it, the Keystone Pipeline could make its way through Nebraska and onto this family's land. As News 5's Tim McNicholas explains, this family is saying the pipeline will have to go through them first. We've heard the national concerns over TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline. How dangerous is it? How many jobs will it create? Nebraska's Department of Environmental Quality says the revised route could have minimal impacts on the environment. But what if the pipeline was going straight through your land jeopardizing the farm your family cultivated for five generations? "It threatens water beneath us. If there's a spill, it threatens the livelihood of people around here. It threatens the value of land," said Abbi Kleinschmidt, 5th generation land owner. Abbi Kleinschmidt and her two sisters own farms directly in the proposed pipeline route. Their family bought the land in 1864. Rather than running away, they're building a solar barn in Keystone's path. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Saturday at their York County farm. "Do we want to stay stuck on dirty energy or are we ready to move forward with some clean energy solutions?" said Kleinschmidt President Obama has won the family's support, but they're at odds with local government. "We just need citizens to keep standing up and letting local government know what the issues are. Keep informing them," Kleinschmidt said. Governor Dave Heineman approved the proposed Nebraska route early this year. But Nebraskans have been fighting back ever since. "I think he should listen to the people that are out there that continue to say I think this is a bad deal for the state, I think it's a bad deal for agricultural economy," said Ken Winston. TransCanada anticipates the pipeline to generate $20 billion in economic impact for the U.S. "If we don't start looking at caring for the environment it's not gonna matter that we make a bunch of money or that a big corporation makes a bunch of money," said Kleinschmidt. The new barn - a $60,000 project that - will be paid for by donations and grants. It will be up and running by this fall. In other words, it's either the pipeline or the barn. Three Nebraska landowners will challenge Heineman's approval in court on September 27th. If they win their suit, TransCanada will have to take their Nebraska pipeline plan back to square one.