For months Nebraskans have heard about the benefits and concerns about the Keystone XL Pipeline, but separating truth from fiction can be hard.
In an exclusive interview with 10/11, TransCanada's president of energy and oil pipelines opens up about being cast as the bad guy and candidly answers his critics.
"This will be the safest crude oil pipeline measure of safety over any other pipeline in states. To have that perverted and twisted into that we are a heartless corporate behemoth that is coming into pillage the property and livelihoods of Nebraskans, it hurts," said Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada President Of Energy and Oil.
The concerns are many; the pipe will leak, the oil is toxic, it will erode the line, TransCanada doesn't care, the aquifer will be polluted and ruined. They are legitimate concerns, but are the fears valid or exaggerated?
For some insight on where TransCanada stands 1011 went to the company's corporate headquarters in Calgary,Canada.
Pourbaix says when it comes to the Keystone XL, he's heard it all.
"If I was a rancher in the Sandhills and had people telling me that this company was gonna put in this pipeline that was going to leak like a sieve, was going to poison wells, ruin livelihood and take off without dealing with it. I fully understand why people would be concerned over that. We're doing what we can to get the safety record out," said Pourbaix.
TransCanada officials don't shy away from the spotlight. In fact, they want people to know more about their pipelines. They even agree that landowners should worry about their land. They just want to make sure they have all the facts.
"We have, for all these years, we have felt our track record in safety spoke for us and we didn't have to say anything because the fact we've operated safely for years did the talking," said Pourbaix.
Pourbaix and TransCanada officials say it's frustrating to be painted as a villain in some communities.
"It is intensely frustrating and frankly very disturbing to be cast in that mold. As I said, our entire business is about safely transporting energy commodities. We take that mission incredibly seriously, we understand that if we do a bad job at that people can be injured or killed. The land can be impacted for a long time and livelihoods can be affected," said Pourbaix.
Pourbaix tells 1011 he's had strong words for the critics of the oil going through the line. Critics say it's more hazardous than other oil.
"If we believed there was any increased safety risk of carrying this product we wouldn't be doing it. There is nothing unique about this product," said Pourbaix.
Pourbaix says what frustrates him the about the critics is the lies about his company.