"STUART, Neb. -- Stepping carefully through a 12-foot-deep canyon gouged into the sandy soil of their family ranch by a long-gone storm, Kurt and Laura Meusch ask a Shakespearean question: What's in a name?"
"The slice of their pasture now set to host the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which TransCanada Corp. agreed to steer around what Nebraska officials mark as the delicate dunes of the state's prized Sand Hills, feels no different to the Meusches than the ground the company was pressured into sidestepping. A sandy hill without the Sand Hills label doesn't ease the threat that they and their vocal neighbors say the new pipeline path poses to their water.
'It's not just running through our backyards; it's running through our entire lives,' Laura Meusch said of Keystone XL during a slow trip through meadows where locals warn that a lone pickup truck can cause a 'blowout' of unsettled soil.
'They just think we're a bunch of hippie environmentalists out here,' added the registered Republican, who recently began locking her doors for the first time on the property that her husband's family has owned for decades. 'No. We're not.'"