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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Senate Supports Keystone XL Pipeline Project

By Victoria Wicks
The South Dakota House of Representatives approved a concurrent resolution Wednesday to petition President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The resolution holds that the pipeline will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and generate tax revenue.
Senator Dan Ledermann says he traveled to Alberta, Canada, to tour tar sands facilities. The Keystone XL pipeline, if completed, will transport the sour crude from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.
Ledermann says the oil has a lot of sulfur and contaminants that are removed before the oil enters the pipeline.
“And when you look at the real process, and you look at how the oil is already refined before it’s put into the pipe, I think it’s a safe and clean way,” he says. “We’ve been doing it for 30 years. We’ve been bringing Alberta tar sands into the country for many years.”
Ledermann says the pipeline proposal has been used as a political soccer ball by both parties and has divided the nation.
Senator Larry Lucas opposes the resolution. He suggests that the oil might be sold to China, where the country’s refining process isn’t regulated and will contribute to air pollution.
“I’d much prefer that we’d sell them a value-added product, if we can in fact refine it safely and cleanly in the United States, or refine some of our other oil that we’re getting from fracking and sell it to them,” Lucas says. “To me, that would sustain a longer economic growth pattern of energy development in the United States than the boom-to-bust cycle that we’ll have from building this pipeline.”
The resolution has already cleared the House and now the Senate. It does not have the force of law, nor is it signed by the Governor.
The pipeline route crosses the U.S.-Canadian border and therefore needs to be approved by the Secretary of State.