The Sandhills of Nebraska are one of the last great unspoiled grasslands in the world. While managing the Horn Land and Cattle ranch on a daily basis I see bald eagles perching on the cottonwoods near the river, hear Sandhill cranes calling from the wetlands, and watch Sharp tail grouse and Prairie chickens dash across our pastures. It is no wonder The American Bird Conservancy has described the Nebraska Sandhills as the “best grassland bird place in the United States.” For the past two decades I have been fortunate to call this place my home, ranching, raising my family and caring for the land. I take my role as steward of this land very seriously, and now am faced with the prospect of years of hard work in environmental management being undone. The NPPD’s R- project will undoubtedly have a long lasting and detrimental effect on what is an already fragile ecosystem. Building the necessary infrastructure to support the project will not only increase pollution, require disruptive earth work, and facility maintenance (think roads, towers, truck traffic), but also create ongoing challenges as re-vegetation efforts will be needed to prevent soil erosion and repair this delicate ecosystem. While the NPPD says they are committed to healing the land after project completion, it is hard to see how this makes economic and environmental sense in the long run. Why not choose an alternative route, with existing infrastructure, that would require less long-term maintenance and environmental disruption? I am not opposed to a transmission line if it is truly needed but I am adamantly opposed to the proposed route. The Sandhills are a great treasure. Anything that is built in the area runs the risk of changing the landscape forever and should be thoughtfully and carefully looked at not only from the necessity of the project but the lasting effects it will have on this ecosystem.
MARGARET ANN NEAL
I have land that will be affected by the transmission line. Not to mention that it will be 730 feet from my building site. I have wetlands that serve as a habitat & breeding ground/nesting site for migratory birds. I have trumpeter swans, and a handful of Sandhills cranes on my property. I am concerned about the long-term impact on the Sandhills. This ranch has been in the family for over 100 years and protected by being stewards of the land. Allowing access to this property to NPPD goes against my ethics and stewardship.
5th Generation Sandhills Rancher
My great-great-Grandfather homesteaded in northern Garfield County in 1891. Throughout the last 123 years we’ve been in the Sandhills, our family has put together and acquired three ranches. We’ve strived to make every chunk of ground we acquired to be better and more productive. I believe if the R-Project line were to go through, it would take away from the hard labor that each generation of my family has put into preserving the Sandhills. If you start pushing big lines and machinery across the most fragile ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere, you’re going to cause blowouts and take away from the productivity of the land. Driving big machinery across the soft hay ground would cut ruts in our meadows that would never disappear. This project would take away from the land’s productivity, and more importantly take away from our livelihood. In ranching, the bottom line depends on cattle’s ability to gain. . . and that means grass. I fear it would take my lifetime, and maybe more, to heal the landscape up. If there’s one thing a Sandhill cow rancher is proud of it’s his ground, and it’s something that we don’t like to see destroyed. This transmission line would run 1/2 mile south of my house. The people behind the R-Project probably have never sat on the front step and watched a Nebraska Sandhill sunset. I have, and it’s beautiful. I sure as hell don’t want to see this line with it every night for the rest of my life.
The Sandhills, as part of the Northern Great Plains, is one of the last four remaining intact grasslands in the WORLD. The degradation a transmission line like this would cause to this global treasure would be a shame. We have worked for generations to keep the Sandhills healthy for people and wildlife while producing the best beef in the world--not because anyone told us to but because we wanted to. This line will compromise the opportunity for the next generation to do the same.
I have been blessed to return to the family ranch to raise my kids here. But now, I wonder what my grandchildren will see and hear in the future. Will we be saying to them, “You should have seen the Sandhills! You should have seen it when you could ride out across the hills and see grouse dancing at your feet, hear cranes flying above and see nothing but God’s green grass as far as you could see. You should have seen it.” I believe this transmission line will open the door to drastic change in the Sandhills that will change it forever. How do we want the Sandhills to remember us?
5th Generation Rancher in Garfield County, Nebraska
It is truly a privilege to be a Sandhills rancher. I value the hard work and sacrifices made by past generations to give me this opportunity. I feel a deep rooted responsibility to manage and protect our ranch, so that I too can pass this heritage on to the next generation.
4th Generation Rancher in Loup County, Nebraska.
Why must Nebraskans and others risk impacting the Sand Hills with high capacity export transmission power lines? The Sand Hills is one of the few unspoiled grasslands left anywhere. NPPD, we know there are other routes along highways and existing easements. Reroute the R-Line and help protect our Sand Hills.