ATKINSON, Neb. (AP) — The small, north-central Nebraska town of Atkinson is bracing for big crowds at the second in-state hearing over a hotly disputed Canadian oil pipeline project.Residents say the Keystone XL pipeline proposal has divided the town and is expected to generate a large showing at the U.S. State Department hearing in the West Holt High School gymnasium. Similar meetings are taking place this week in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.The pipeline operated by TransCanada would carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries. Supporters say it will reduce Middle East oil dependence and create jobs. Opponents say it will leak and contaminate the massive Ogallala aquifer.Bruce Boettcher, a fourth-generation rancher, says scientists who have proclaimed the project safe aren't as familiar with the land as locals are.



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