Keystone Pipelines: A Battle Of Contradictory Politics and Economics

Feb 23, 2015

The Keystone XL Pipeline debate is a battle of contradictory facts. And it has polarized the nation in ways that no other pipeline project has. As it stands this week, President Barack Obama expects to receive a bill for his signature, passed by both chambers of Congress, authorizing TransCanada to build the pipeline across the U.S.-Canadian border. And Congress expects him to veto it, as he has said he will.

If built, the pipeline will cut diagonally across the western half of South Dakota.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, the pipeline that is part of Phase One of the Keystone project lies under four feet of Dakota farmland, carrying Alberta tar sands heavy crude to Patoka, Illinois. That pipeline saw its skirmishes, but it was hardly a war. One reason might be that it was permitted during the Bush administration.

On this segment of Dakota Midday, Victoria Wicks explores the uproar surrounding the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and the effects of the one that has already been built.

Here are some links to sources of information. If link won’t open, copy the address and paste in the search bar.

Executive Summary of U.S. State Department Final Environmental Impact Statement:

http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/221135.pdf

Chapter 4 of U.S. State Department Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, having to do with economics:

http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/221186.pdf

This transcript is testimony from the state Department of Revenue to the Public Utilities Commission. It’s a 2009 source, and so numbers are likely outdated, but it’s very helpful in understanding how taxes are applied. It uses Harding County as an example of the effect KXL might have.

https://puc.sd.gov/commission/dockets/HydrocarbonPipeline/2009/hp09-001/hearing/staff13.pdf

Here are some links to coverage prior to September 2012:

About pipeline leaks:

http://www.sdpb.sd.gov/newsite/shows.aspx?MediaID=58475&Parmtype=RADIO&ParmAccessLevel=sdpb-all

About the U.S. State Department hearings in Pierre:

http://www.sdpb.sd.gov/newsite/shows.aspx?MediaID=60039&Parmtype=RADIO&ParmAccessLevel=sdpb-all

In 2011, TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline seemed to be on the fast track to approval. Because the pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canadian border, the U.S. Department of State is charged with determining whether the project favors the national interest. But in October 2011, information emerged that the consulting company hired by the state department had close ties with TransCanada, and that fact, along with other glitches, eventually sent the permitting process back to Square One. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks reported on that situation as it came to light.