The last scheduled public meeting on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline brought hundreds of advocates and opponents to Grand Island, Nebraska on Thursday:
Chad Gilbert of Pipeliners Union 798 said pipelines are the safest way to transport oil, and suggested opponents of the project were misdirected. “Why protest this job opportunity that my members desperately need? Could it be because of the Canadian oil sands, or possibly the fossil fuels itself?” he asked. “If that’s what you’re protesting, it’s not going to change by holding up a pipeline. The oil will be shipped.”
But opponents suggested labor could be better employed on sustainable energy projects. “The Keystone XL and the tarsand bitumen that it is intended to support have no redeeming value. We need to start dismantling the hydrocarbon infrastructure, not expanding it,” declared Doug Grandt.
Although the meeting was scheduled to end at 8 p.m., State Department kept it going so everyone who wanted to could testify. By 10 p.m., more than 200 had done so, with pipeline opponents far outnumbering supporters.
UPDATE: Watch the archived hearing