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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sign Still Up by Tom Pappas

I consider it a gift from God given to me by a remarkable colleague many years ago. We were high school counselors together and because the offices were being remodeled, our desks were pushed together and we faced each other in a normal sized classroom. There were several other counselors also in the room. Not a model for security and privacy, huh?

The topic might have been politics, or more likely (is the principal listening) best educational practices, when I complained to Jerry that, “I hate it when I have my opinion settled and I come across new information; then I start questioning my position. I don’t like being wishy-washy.”  Here’s the gift, which I have enjoyed incalculable times since.  He said, “I don’t think of that as wishy-washy, I call that open minded.”

The yard sign on our property says to the drivers on South Street, “STOP THE XL PIPELINE”.  I put it out there because the vocabulary of oil delivery includes the words rupture, spill and leak. As a Nebraskan I was offended that the route through our state crosses the corner of one of America’s unseen treasures.  The Ogallala aquifer is a vast resource for water, in fact, the largest in the world. It was clear to me that the risk of a possible spill is not worth it. But then I got wishy-washy when I saw a document that showed the routes of dozens of pipelines already crossing the aquifer. Sign still up.

A protest at the White House ends this week regarding the XL pipeline. Nebraskans are participating but the leadership for the action comes from others who reject the environmental impact of extracting oil from tar sands and the commitment to fossil fuel energy this huge project represents. I still don’t like a Canadian company blithely deciding the endanger water our state needs, but I am bolstered by the ammunition of better arguments than what I started with. Sign still up.

Local news this weekend showed a scientist explaining that an aquifer is not a cavernous underground lake but water filled layers of rock and sand. An oil spill would not spread uniformly but would stair step down and away from the middle of the aquifer. God’s gift through Jerry is making it trickier for me to stand where I stood when I first encountered the XL pipeline. Sign still up - mind still open. Thanks, Jerry.

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