Keystone XL pipes lie unused in southwest N.D.
Posted May 2, 2014
By BRYCE MARTIN
N.D. Group Editor
It’s quickly becoming the pipeline to nowhere.
President Barack Obama announced last week a further delay in the decision on the fate of TransCanada’s massive Keystone XL pipeline addition.
For supporters of the project, it signaled a “defeat through delay,” as Sen. John Hoeven said in statement. For the opposition, it instilled further hope that the project would be stalemated.
It’s a decision that has been postponed now for years. And the federal government isn’t showing any definite plans to wrap up its comment period – from federal agencies regarding the project – as Hoeven said the decision was postponed indefinitely and that the government would “almost certainly postpone a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline project until after the November election.”
“President Obama’s Keystone XL strategy is clearly defeat through delay. He claims adherence to process, but whenever he runs out of process, he finds more process,” Hoeven said in a statement.
Because of this delay, be it “tactical politics” as suggested by Hoeven or a legitimate delay – the U.S. State Department explained the delay as “uncertainty created by the ongoing litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court”– it’s putting the small Bowman County city of Gascoyne on the map.
Stockpiled along Highway 12 east of Gascoyne since 2011 are pipes ready to be used for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Over the seasons, they lie unused, gathering snow in the winter and dust in the summer. The vast quantities of mainly bluish-green pipes often pique the curiosity of passersby. The pipes stand hoping one day to be used to create one of the most studied transcontinental pipelines in history.
Over 2,000 days ago, TransCanada submitted its initial application for approval of the pipeline to run from Hardisty, Alberta to an existing pipeline near Steele City, Neb. The pipeline would be able to move up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day, including 100,000 barrels from the Bakken region, and provide approximately 20,000 direct jobs.
“The American people support the Keystone XL pipeline by a margin of three to one and the U.S. Congress is on record supporting the project and declaring it in the national interest,” Hoeven said.
Beginning April 26, thousands of protestors opposing the $5.4 billion project began a six-day Reject and Protect event in Washington, D.C. Launched mostly by the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, the event urged Obama to shelve the project.
Many environmentalists, politicians, and citizens from around the country have raised concerns about the potential negative impacts of the Keystone XL project, which is the fourth phase of the existing Keystone Pipeline that currently runs from Alberta to Steele City. They say its negative points outweigh its possible positive economic impacts.
Opponents of the project explain the main issue is the risk of oil spills along the line, which would potentially contaminate sensitive land.
If completed, the Keystone XL portion of the line would extend down from Canada, navigate to the southeast directly through Baker, Mont. and join the existing Keystone pipeline in Nebraska. It would narrowly pass over the southwestern corner of Bowman County.
“… One would think President Obama would want the jobs and energy security the Keystone XL Pipeline will bring,” Rep. Kevin Cramer said in a statement. “The time for talking is over. It is time for leaders to lead.”