Monday, October 25, 2010

When You're In A Hole...

In an election season with an economy still recovering from the worst failure by Wall Street since the Great Depression, and during the same year that saw the worst oil disaster in history, we'd hoped to hear a few new ideas this fall. We thought it would have made sense for candidates to be talking about jobs programs, fixing the problems with the banks, mortgages, and corporate America.  We even thought energy and environmental issues might be on the table.

Instead, for the most part, we've had "I'm not a witch", and "Aqua Buddha", while outside interests from who knows where have attempted to buy our midterm elections out from under the American people.

In a few rare cases, there have been candidates seriously debating substantive issues, and we applaud those few who have done so.

However, the most important discussion we've heard on energy, the environment, and jobs recently has been from two incumbent U.S. Senators, neither of whom is up for reelection.

At the end of last week, Nebraska Democratic Senator Ben Nelson and Republican Senator Mike Johanns both announced they had significant concerns with the proposed Keystone oil pipeline being built by a Canadian company. The pipeline's proposed route travels from Canada through Montana and South Dakota, across Nebraska, then down through Kansas and Oklahoma to Texas, where the raw crude would be refined.

Currently, the proposal also takes the pipeline through the Nebraska Sandhills, a large area of incredibly porous soil and rock, that sits on top of the Ogallala Aquifer. That aquifer isn't just any insignificant underground puddle. It's one of the world's largest underground sources of water, and provides water suitable for agriculture or drinking for eight states throughout the central portion of the U.S. Without the aquifer, some of the most fertile farmland in the country would dry up and turn into desert.

The company attempting to build and operate the pipeline is the same company responsible for the disastrous oil spill in Michigan this past July, that ranks as one of the worst disasters of its kind in the Midwest.

For now, the Keystone pipeline project has been put on indefinite hold, in part due to the Senators from Nebraska, and in part due to significant trouble the oil company is running into in the wake of new Federal regulations imposed by the Obama administration. Those delays may not hold forever, though, as Sec. of State Clinton mentioned late last week.

It's these kinds of incredibly important issues that we wish we'd seen and heard far more debate over this election season.

If there is a candidate you can vote for, who seriously tackled an issue of this importance, and came down on the correct side of the issue?

We recommend you vote for them as soon as possible. That is, if an actual candidate like that exists where you are.

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