We began our day just outside of Steele City, NE to take a look at one of the largest wind farms in the state. This put the rest of the day in juxtaposition with the current effort to solve our oil dependance, that of bringing in the pipeline and unconventional means of harnessing energy.
Where the wind farm showed a promising new technology and how it changed a landscape, we moved into the town of Steele City, NE, where the technological addition of the pipeline actually left the area depressed. Many workers moved on to other sites to continue building the pipeline leaving Steele City. Extra staff was hired around town in local establishments such as the Salty Dog to handle the initial boom the pipeline gave to the town. With the pipeline moving on, the town has become smaller and does not receive the revenue it did during building. We also had a chance to visit the pumping stations. These stations are spaced at a regular increment, every 50 miles, on the landscape and are unmanned, still not adding anymore jobs to the area. The only possible source of revenue the town gets from the pipeline in the long run is from the electric usage.
From Steele City, we went on to see the National Homestead Museum. Much of the land in Nebraska and the states west of the Mississippi River were developed through the Homestead Act. The museum is built on an actual homesteader’s land, but has been completely restored to what it looked like when he would have arrived. After the Homestead Museum, we were off to Lincoln, NE for a talk with Matt Joeckel to discuss some of the geological issues with the pipeline, mainly if the aquifer could become tainted from a spill or leak.