Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 36

Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Granville, Iowa

{Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines. For the latest route and schedule detail, click here.}

BANG! The crack of a gun less than 30 yards away stopped me dead in my tracks. Startled, I yelled with a mix of seriousness and levity, “Hello! Don’t shoot!”Sioux Co rest stop

A middle-aged woman holding a shotgun appeared from behind a stand of spruce trees. She yelled back to me, “You’re that guy I saw on the news.”

“Yes, probably, maybe. Why? A lot of guys look like me, don’t ya think?” I responded. “Are you going to shoot me?” I continued, with greater emphasis on levity than seriousness, hoping a touch of humor might influence the best possible outcome.

The woman laughed, explaining that she was just enjoying a little target practice, that my arrival was a coincidence. She’d seen the story of my walk on two Sioux City television stations.

She’d already settled with Dakota Access, she explained. But like many others I’d met, she wasn’t particularly pleased with the thought of half a million barrels of oil running through her farm every day. And like others, she felt it was inevitable, that there was no sense fighting it, that she might as well settle.

I told her about the many landowners standing against the pipeline. I told her the company doesn’t even have a permit or the authority to use eminent domain. I told her about the legislation now working its way through the House and Senate. (It’s SSB 1276 – check it out by clicking here . . . and take action!)

Therein lies our biggest challenge. We have to stand united with landowners opposed to the pipeline, and we have to convince others that this fight is not over. Heck, it’s not even close to over. I’ve seen lots of corporate hubris in my day, but Dakota Access steals the cake.

Yup. Corporate hubris on steroids. More on that tomorrow.Sioux County Farmer to Farmer

I have to mention one other experience from today. Halfway through the 13-mile walk, I stopped at a beautiful, orderly mixed-use farm. I had barely introduced myself to the family when I was invited to join them at their table for lunch. Burning 2,000 additional calories a day, I rarely decline an offer involving food.

In addition to discussing the pipeline, I was delighted to learn of the family’s efforts through their church to help struggling farmers in Nicaragua. It was a reminder to me that Iowans care about their neighbors, whether they’re across a fence line or an international border.

As we work to build new allies in this fight against the pipeline, we need to remind ourselves of Iowans’ deep-rooted sense of neighborliness and concern for others. If we are to succeed, that will be a key element in making it happen.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 35

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – Paullina, Iowa

man with beard 20150414_115840

Mountain Dave

{Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines. For the latest route and schedule detail, click here.}

Of all the interesting, inspiring people I’ve met on the Walk, Mountain Dave may qualify as the most colorful. Dave lives in an 8′ x 10′ hut that he built entirely from recycled materials. Much of his time is spent clearing out the thick stands of invasive cedar trees that have taken over the prairie hills along the Little Sioux River Valley.

The pipeline would come within 300 feet of his home, a possibility that Dave “imagines would be as much fun as living in Omaha.” I was moved by some of the difficult stories Dave shared from his past, and by his words of wisdom about America’s obsession with materialism. Check out this brief video capturing a bit of our conversation . . . which closes with Dave extending an invitation to folks to “Stop by, have a beer.”

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Climate Reality training in Cedar Rapids - Version 2Senator Rob Hogg is one of the key Iowa lawmakers leading the way on the eminent domain bill that would stop the pipeline. Rob also is a national leader on climate change, and he asked that I share this invitation with you: “The Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore, will have its next international training in Cedar Rapids May 5 – 7. This is an extraordinary opportunity for Iowa, both to have as many Iowans as possible attend the training and to showcase our state for the national and international guests who will be visiting, including Al Gore. Click here for more details or to apply. It would be great to have a large delegation of Iowans attend, Iowans who would then use their knowledge, skills and networks to help us grow the movement for climate action in Iowa.”

The deadline to apply has been extended to Monday, April 20.

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Gateway Market 200 x 200With less than sixty miles to go, I want to share a word of thanks to all of you who have helped make the Walk happen. And I want to remind folks in the Des Moines area to thank the local businesses that help make this and the Fallon Forum possible:

Kenneth Larkin videoGateway Market and Cafe
5 de Mayo Mexican Restaurants
Community CPA & Associates
Diversity Insurance
Hello Wellness5deMayo
Realtor Dan Kelley
Ritual Cafe
Sargents Garage

Thanks, too, to Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility for all their support.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 34

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – Larrabee, Iowa

{Help celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline on Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at E. Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines.}
{For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule, click here.}

Mill Creek as it flows toward the Little Sioux River

Mill Creek as it flows toward the Little Sioux River

“Not all of Iowa is flat,” announces a popular Des Moines t-shirt in the ongoing effort to instruct Americans about the undulating nature of much of Iowa’s topography.

“Not all of northwest Iowa is flat,” would read the t-shirt I’d design to instruct Des Moines residents on the undulating nature of Cherokee County’s topography.

I have seen so many beautiful places along the Pipeline Walk. But today’s stroll through the rolling Little Sioux River Valley was the most beautiful yet. It was also the first time I have walked the actual proposed pipeline path, courtesy of owner Jack Montgomery guiding me through his property, which includes a large stretch of virgin prairie that has never seen a plow.

Covered wagon dents still visible in native prairie

Covered wagon dents still visible in native prairie

Other than woodlands, it’s a rare patch of Iowa soil that has never been tilled. Jack’s hillside prairie is one such gem. Yet this prairie shows signs of another man-made vehicle: the covered wagon! True story! As we worked our way up the grass-covered slope, I was amazed to see as clear as day the imprints of a wagon that went through this prairie over 175 years ago. What a feeling, to imagine myself trudging behind a wagon bound for the West.

“I figure that wagon must have sunk into the ground up to its axles for these imprints to be so visible after so many years,” says Jack.

Of course, as luck would have it, Dakota Access wants to run its pipeline right through Jack’s prairie.

Jack Montgomery

Jack Montgomery

“It’s a historical piece of ground, and there’s hardly any virgin prairie left in Iowa,” says Jack. “There are all sorts of birds, insects and plants living here that the pipeline would disrupt. Our prairie is one of the few places in Iowa where bobolinks still live. And if there’s a pipeline leak, it would destroy the whole thing.” See video below of Mary Ann and Jack talking about the proposed pipeline and the prairie area.

Jack raises cattle at the home place nearby, where he and his wife, Mary Ann, have lived for 43 years. “For me, this pipeline is wrong because, whether the oil ends up being used in China or anywhere else, it’s bad for the climate,” says Jack.

 

“For me, it doesn’t matter whether the oil they want to put through this pipeline is going to end up in China or the U.S.,” adds Mary Ann. “It’s going to end up in the atmosphere either way, and that’s bad for all of us.”

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 33

Monday, April 13, 2015 – Truesdale, Iowa

{Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk: Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines. For the latest route and schedule detail, click here.}

I have plenty of company today. Five people living along the pipeline route join me for stretches of the walk, including David Fordyce, Buena Vista County’s only remaining dairy farmer.

David Fordyce

David Fordyce

We walk by David’s alfalfa field. The pipeline would cut through the middle of it, and David is concerned that the pipeline would have significant and long-term negative impacts on his soil and crop production.

“Any time you drive over alfalfa it kills it for that cutting,” explains David, who gets four crops per year. “When the pipeline company comes through with their equipment, they’ll run over the crop and compact the soil. And if you try to replant alfalfa after that, it doesn’t do well in land that’s been compacted.”

David has been instrumental in organizing tomorrow’s meeting in Cherokee. He is expecting a good crowd, and given the sentiments of the people we meet today along the route, I wouldn’t be surprised. More than anything, there is great interest in the eminent domain bill finally making its way through the Iowa Legislature.

I tell David and others about last week’s ruling regarding the threatened use of eminent domain for a recreational lake in Clarke County, which Doug Robins and his neighbors have been fighting for over a decade. Doug tells me that the Iowa Supreme Court decision affirmed that the Clarke County Reservoir Commission was not authorized to use eminent domain. I wonder if the Court would rule similarly that the Iowa Utilities Board does not have the authority to grant Dakota Access the right to use eminent domain, since a privately-owned pipeline transporting oil across Iowa to refineries in Texas hardly qualifies as a public utility.

“This ruling helps anyone working to reign in the abuse of eminent domain, not just us,” says Doug. “Hopefully, it will catch lawmakers’ eyes, because if the Iowa Supreme Court is siding with landowners on eminent domain, it’s time the Legislature addressed the problem instead of killing legislation like they’ve been doing the past six years.”

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 32

Thursday, April 9, 2015 – Storm Lake, Iowa

{Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk: Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines. For the latest route and schedule detail, click here.}

Ed at windfarm under 200kbSo much news to share! Most of it good. But first, a brief recap from last week’s final day of walking:

The weather whooped me good last week. Thursday’s trek was a fitting conclusion to four water-logged days. During the final mile, I relied on the full force of my walking stick to drag me through a headwind laden with rain, changing to sleet.

Windmill, real old under 200kbThe end point of that final mile provided some encouragement, as the blades of the mid-size turbines of Iowa’s oldest wind farm seemed to cheer me on. Sitting on Buffalo Ridge north of Alta, these turbines are the older variety. Ok, not this old.

WIndmill, oldNot even this old.

 

 

 

Windmill, AltaHere, this one here.

 

 

 

Windmill hit by lightningAnd one that looked like this, struck by lightning during the previous night’s thunderstorm. Ouch.

This wind farm shows how far one sustainable energy technology has come in so little time. With this kind of progress being made on so many fronts, there is no reason to further entrench the risky, dirty, heavily-subsidized oil industry with an pipeline forced upon landowners who understand the many liabilities they would be stuck with if their land is condemned by Dakota Access.

Ok, the news:

1. Eminent domain legislation is coming this week! I was in touch this weekend with two key lawmakers who assured me that, before week’s end, we’ll have companion bills with bipartisan support in both House and Senate. This is very encouraging. Stay tuned.

2. In related eminent domain news, the Iowa Supreme Court last week sided with farmers and landowners who have for years battled to prevent condemnation of their land for a recreational lake in Clarke County. More on that soon.

3. Dakota Access is growing more aggressive with landowners who refuse to allow surveyors on their property. Look for developments this week as the company seeks injunctions to force landowners to grant them access to farmers’ fields – just in time for planting, too.

4. This could be the week that the Keystone Pipeline is finally laid to rest. Great news, of course, but it also shifts the focus to the Bakken Oil Pipeline, which I fear would become the new Keystone, eventually tapping into the vast supply of tar sands oil in Alberta, locking in Iowa for decades to come as a conduit for the dirtiest oil in the world.

5. And finally, Hillary Clinton announces she’ll run for President. Ok, that’s not really news. But help make news by getting her – or any of the other prospective Republican or Democratic presidential candidates – to answer this simple question: “As President, will you use both your executive authority and your bully pulpit to oppose the Bakken Oil Pipeline?”

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Tune-in to discuss this news and to hear the latest developments on the Iowa Pipeline Walk on the Fallon Forum on Monday, April 13 at 11:00 a.m. on KDLF 1260 AM La Reina (Des Moines) and online. State Rep. Dan Kelley hosts the program, and his other guest is State Rep. Scott Ourth, who will discuss developments with the House Natural Resources Committee.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 31

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Newell, Iowa

{Celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk: Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline, Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines. For the latest route and schedule detail, click here.}
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This morning, I received a disturbing message from a landowner I met recently:

“Ed. They are knocking at my door, with briefcases, TO TALK! Please hurry with your help. What are you going to do????”

I felt her desperation. I wrote back. I tried to call. Her frustration – my frustration, too – confirmed in me the importance of supporting landowners, who more than anyone, are caught in the cross hairs of this pipeline. Pipeline Marker

When I meet landowners who are scared, frustrated, confused as to what to do, I tell them no matter what, there is no reason to move quickly. Time after time, landowners recount how aggressive and persistent are pipeline representatives. Landowners are made to feel the pipeline is inevitable, they might as well sell and get it over with, they won’t get as much money if the company takes their land through eminent domain.

They hear from pipeline representatives repeatedly – at their door, by mail, on the phone. One farmer received as many as six calls a day from the company!

We – landowners, neighbors, Iowans, all of us – need to support the property owners who are under so much pressure. We need to reach out. We need to not be shy. In most cases, landowners want us to reach out. They want and need our help and the information and support we have to share – and this will become even more important as the pipeline company grows more and more aggressive.

Cherokee County farmers

Ginny Anderson and Kim Luetkeman

At the meeting tonight in Storm Lake, I met people who truly understood the importance of sticking together, of supporting each other, of not being intimidated by slick pipeline salespersons.

Gary and Ginny Anderson and their daughter, Kim, attended tonight’s meeting. They are dead-set against the pipeline. More than anyone I’ve spoken with, Ginny impressed upon me the importance of neighbors talking with each other, and of community members providing support for landowners who often feel caught between a rock and a hard place.

“Farmers are quiet people,” she said. “When bad things happen, they go inward, hole up, don’t ask for help. In the farm crisis of the 1980s, our friends and neighbors didn’t talk with us. They suffered in silence.”

Ginny recounted how her parents went to visit neighbors who were struggling to hold onto their farm in the 1980s. The neighbors didn’t ask for help, and seemed to just want to keep to themselves. Ginny says her parents were there for hours – talking, consoling, sorting things out, trying to help their neighbors figure out what to do. The neighbors were truly grateful.

“This pipeline deal feels like the same thing,” concluded Ginny. “We need to circle the wagons. And we need to keep the lines of communication open between all of us.”

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 30

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 – Knoke, Iowa

{Reminder: Help celebrate the completion of the Iowa Pipeline Walk with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline on Wednesday, April 22 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at E. Locust and E. 7th in Des Moines.}
{For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule, click here.}

If there is such a thing as a perfect day for walking, today is its opposite. Cold, rainy, windy. At least the first four miles of a 13-mile day are on pavement – a welcome change from the uneven gravel that normally defines my route. The pavement is accommodating. My pace is brisk, and the wind is at my back – for now.Ed in front of old building

One of the downsides of pavement is realized almost immediately: traffic, especially semis. As the first truck of the day barrels past me, I am blasted by its draft and a cold plume of spray. The experience is a bit like getting hit in the face with a water balloon. I take the sting out of the impact by shielding my face as the truck passes.

There are lots of semis on the highway today. One comes within two feet of me as it hugs the white line. I smell the brakes as it passes, realizing the driver has to slow quickly to avoid not just me but an oncoming vehicle.

Walking in traffic is a reminder that, in the design and planning of America’s transportation system, pedestrians aren’t even an afterthought. I don’t fault the drivers. I wave and smile at each of them. Most wave back. Most give me plenty of room. The unwalkability of America – including most of urban America – is a structural problem. It is a problem of power, both the power of money and the power of the conveyances themselves. In a collision between a pedestrian and a truck on the road or a pedestrian and a highway lobbyist at the Statehouse, the victor is rarely in doubt.

As I near the end of the paved stretch of my route, a truck hauling livestock roars past. This time, perhaps as a parting gift from highway lobbyists, the acrid smell of hog manure blends with the truck’s wet blast of cold air. It’s like being hit in the face with a water balloon . . . filled with hog slurry. I am eager to get back to gravel.

I turn onto a back road that sends me across a stream, and enjoy a moment of comic relief at a sign that reads “No Trespassing Without Permission.”

I walk by two more abandoned farms. Through 4 1/2 miles, I pass six farmsteads, four in various stages of abandonment. Two are inhabited, but in need of significant repair. One is well-kept, with a long driveway up a hill, a statue of Mary standing guard at the top. On this wet day, the driveway seems too long to negotiate, and I leave my flier at the mailbox.

The extent of rural decay weighs heavy upon me. Of the three people I talk with during today’s walk, two speak with sadness about the number of farmhouses that have come down in recent years. Maybe it’s my imagination or the fatigue of walking, but the land itself feels heavy with this sense of abandonment.

The rain falls harder, and I am chagrined to discover that my jeans are wet. I glance down and find three sizable tears in my rain pants. I attempt to minimize the wetness by walking with my gloved hand covering my crotch. I feel some kinship with the teenage boys I’ve seen in Des Moines, holding their crotches as they saunter along. But my comparatively modest stint as a crotch-grabber begins and ends on an empty gravel road in northwest Iowa, and will not likely be played out on a busy street in Des Moines.

The rain stops, the wind dies down, and I am reminded that all hard times pass. Similarly, of course, all good times pass. Buddha instructs his disciples on the path of non-attachment, and Jesus instructs his not to worry about food, clothing or the future. Making this my meditation as I walk, the day’s discomforts fade, and I feel at peace as the wind, cold and rain return with still five miles to go. I remember why I am here, why I walk, why I make this sacrifice of time and comfort.

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 29

Monday, April 6, 2015 – Jolley, Iowa
{For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule, click here.}

I am joined today by Faith Blaskovich and her two delightful granddaughters, Frankie and Sadie. The girls manage the entire 12-mile trek with me, with nary a whine nor whimper.

Ed with Faith Blaskovich and her granddaughters, Frankie and Sadie

Ed with Faith Blaskovich and her granddaughters, Frankie and Sadie

Mile after mile of empty fields and often empty farm houses can be lonely hiking conditions. So it is nice to have company on today’s walk. And it will be nice to have hundreds of you – yes, hundreds! - join me for a celebratory rally on the completion of the walk!

Here’s the lowdown on that, in press release format. Can you do three quick things to help?:

1. Get this on your calendar and recruit 5 – 10 others to come with you!

2. Send it to your own email contacts and post the Facebook invite on your own Facebook page.

3. Forward a copy to your local media contacts.

Here’s the press release that went out today. Thanks to all of you who have helped make this walk a success through volunteering, donating, walking, and more. And thanks to David Goodner for initiating the idea of the rally and getting the ball rolling.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10:00 a.m. Tuesday,  April 7, 2015 – Rockwell City, Iowa

For more information, contact:
Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or fallonforum@gmail.com

Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline
Fallon to announce major new initiative –

On the morning of April 22 on the Big Sioux River in Lyon County, former State Rep. Ed Fallon will conclude his eight-week, 400-mile walk along the proposed route of the Bakken Oil Pipeline. This accomplishment will be celebrated with an Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline on Wednesday, April 22 at 5:00 p.m. on the State Capitol’s west lawn (popularly known as “People’s Park”), at the intersection of Locust and E. 7th Street in Des Moines.

The focus of the rally is to:

– Celebrate Earth Day and the completion of Fallon’s 400-mile walk.
– Demand that the Iowa Legislature take swift action on eminent domain.
– Launch a major new initiative in the effort to stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline.

Fallon will be joined by local supporters and by Iowa landowners he met during the walk.

“The Iowa Legislature must, during this session, pass legislation preventing the use of eminent domain for an oil pipeline,” said Fallon. “I’m asking all able-bodied Iowans of conscience who are free from work duties and other obligations to join me at the State Capitol and unite our voices to send the strongest possible message and demand action.”

Fallon has been walking across Iowa for the past five weeks along the proposed path of the pipeline. He will finish his walk in Lyon County on April 22 before driving back to Des Moines for the 5:00 p.m. rally. He has met hundreds of Iowans opposed to the pipeline during his travels and will bring their stories with him to the State Capitol.

Fallon says he also will make a big announcement at the rally about his future plans and his vision for what needs to happen next in the movement to stop the pipeline.

“In addition to calling on the Iowa Legislature to pass a strong eminent domain bill, I’m preparing an announcement at this rally about a significant initiative to advance efforts to stop the pipeline,” concluded Fallon.

The Earth Day Rally to Stop the Pipeline is co-sponsored by Climate Action NOW! and American Friends Service Committee.

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Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 28

Thursday, April 2, 2015 – Rockwell City, Iowa
{For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule, click here.}

Every day of this walk, I meet people who share strong testimony against the pipeline. Often, this face-to-face testimony is supplemented with material sent to me electronically. Here’s a short video I received that every Iowa farmer should watch: Corn farmer’s crop still deficient 51 years after pipeline installed.

Farmer Mervin Shenk shows stunted corn crop growing over a natural gas pipeline

Farmer Mervin Shenk shows stunted corn crop growing over a natural gas pipeline

Walking north of Rockwell City today with Marcy Burkhead, we meet Shirley Gerjets at the first house we stop at. Shirley is feisty, and as solidly against the pipeline as anyone I’ve met. “My kids tell me not to get so worked up about it, but I can’t help it. I’ve worked all my life for what we’ve got.”

She points north and east, naming one neighbor after another who is against the pipeline. “I hope everyone is as mad as I am, because to tell you the truth, I told those guys to go to hell.”

See what I said about feisty!

Shirley Gerjets and Marcy Burkhead

Shirley Gerjets and Marcy Burkhead

Shirley learned about the oil spill two years ago on a wheat farm in North Dakota. That helped fire her up. Tesoro Corp. – the company responsible for the spill – is still working to clean up the mess left by 865,200 gallons of oil covering an area the size of seven football fields. Tesoro originally estimated the clean-up cost at $4 million. It’s now $20 million, and it will be at least another year before the work is complete.

As I read the Associated Press article on the North Dakota oil spill, so many things stood out as warnings for Iowa farmers who might be lured by the dollar signs dangled before them by Dakota Access. In particular, this bit of information floored me: “It was almost two weeks after {the farmer} reported the spill that state officials told the public what had happened, and only after The Associated Press asked about it.”

Continue Reading →

Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 27

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 – Gowrie, Iowa
{For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.}

As a Christian, Easter Sunday has always been a big day for me. This year, it will be bigger than usual, because I will turn exactly the age of the average Iowa farmer: 57.1 years old.

Yup. Almost hard to believe, but if I were making a living as a farmer today, I’d be a wee sliver on the young side of average.

Thomas Burkhead

Thomas Burkhead

Indeed, most farmers I’ve met on the walk are on the upside of 65. So it was refreshing today to meet Thomas Burkhead. At 27 years old, by farmer standards, Thomas is practically a newborn. He spends most of his time working at Grade A Gardens in Johnston, providing food for 100 families on a weekly basis during the growing season. “If it grows in Iowa, we’re growing it,” says Thomas.

Thomas makes regular trips back to his family’s fifth-generation Calhoun County farm, where I stay tonight with him and his mom, Marcy. Thomas cooks up a wonderful dinner of mostly Iowa-grown products. The conversation is as rich and satisfying as the food itself.

The pipeline would run within a half mile of the Burkhead’s home place. “One minute of leaking would be equivalent to two tanker trucks spilling,” says Thomas. “Everything’s tiled around here, so the oil would get into the tiles and could go for miles. Furthermore, I’ve talked with people who install tile, who say it’s really hard to repair it once it’s been cut.”

Thomas is “accepting of all forms of agriculture,” but his heart is with the local-foods movement. He feels an oil spill would be particularly devastating to organic farms. “I read about a farm along the Yellowstone River,” he said, reflecting on the huge spill in Montana earlier this year. “That farm raises organic vegetables, and has goats on pasture. They’re getting the run around from Exxon, and they don’t know if they can remain certified organic.”

I ask Thomas how other landowners and farmers in the area feel about the pipeline. “Most of the neighbors I’ve talked with are against it,” he replies. “But most of them feel it’s a done deal, like they don’t have a say.”

And that, I believe, is one of the main challenges we face. Continue Reading →