Pipeline poses threats

Published 5:24 pm Monday, March 3, 2014


To the Editor:

At the request of Franklin Roosevelt, North Carolina native Hugh Bennett toured the High Plains of the Great American Dustbowl in 1932. One of nine children of mixed Scots-Irish and English ancestry, Bennett had spent part of every day helping his father till the rich Carolina soil. His interest in farming led him to the University of North Carolina, where he studied how different societies in human history had treated their land.

During the 1920s and 1930s, farmers tore up millions of acres of prairie grass which nature had evolved to hold the topsoil in place. Bennett accused the government and its people of having sown the seeds of an epic human, economic and environmental disaster. He tried to warn his fellow citizens that what was happening in the High Plains was a symptom of “our stupendous ignorance.” But it was too late. The damage had already been done.

With regard to the Keystone XL pipeline, we are in a better position. We have time to prevent the natural consequences of our ignorance. But if the pipeline is allowed to be built, the natural consequences will be unstoppable.

Proponents counter that the benefits would outweigh the dangers. The truth is there are no benefits to anyone but gigantic oil companies and their lackeys. We would be destroying the planet so that they could make more money.

The horrendous effects of a warming planet with unprecedented storms, droughts and sea-level rises may already be inevitable, but we are in a better position than our sodbuster ancestors to prevent the natural consequences of our ignorance. Unlike the farmers of the Great Plains, we know beforehand that in building the Keystone pipeline we would be working against nature, to the detriment of ourselves and our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

Polk Culpepper