During my days with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission in the 1980's we did a study on the Nebraska sandhills. We focused on Garfield and Wheeler Counties. Elaine was able to accompany me on some of our sojourns into the area. Our study was prompted partially by the conversion of the native vegetation to cultivated cropland. The area now faces the threat of the Keystone XL pipeline traversing the eastern region which would include the area of this picture. As a member of the Seward, NE City Council, we were very concerned a few years ago when Trans Canada laid a 30'' Keystone pipeline within the 5-year zone of influence of some of our city wells. We negotiated an agreement that provided the city as much protection as possible but were unable to change it's location even from it passing under some of our main water lines between our wells and the city. It did appear that Trans Canada did a "good construction job" in laying the pipeline through our area. As concerned as I, and many others would be, if an alternative route of the Keystone XL being placed parallel to and within the same easement of the existing line, I believe it to be less environmentally threatening to the State of Nebraska than the proposed sandhills route.