Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

[Keystone] "Pipeline could bring needed revenue to state" (S. Dakota)

Pipeline could bring needed revenue to state
By Aaron Nelson
Black Hills Pioneer

BELLE FOURCHE - A crude oil pipeline that would become the longest in North America and could bring much needed revenue and as many as 2,000 workers to the western region of the state would pass through Butte County, officials told county commissioners on Wednesday.

Officials met with Butte County Commissioners to receive information about temporary 50-foot easements across land and load limits on roads to set up transportation routes as pipeline will be hauled in to Rapid City by rail and taken to project sites by truck.

The estimated 2,000-mile Trans Canada Keystone Pipeline will run from the small town of Hardisty in Alberta, Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast, crossing more than 320 miles as it enters the state in the northwest corner near the North Dakota border. It would also cross into Nebraska at the Tripp County line.

Counties West River that would see the most effect are Perkins, Harding, and Meade as they will have pump stations, but State Supervisor Dennis Lee said Belle Fourche and Butte County would definitely feel the impact. There will be a total of seven pump stations in the state.

“You (Butte County) will feel the effect in the area from all the people involved in the project,” Lee said.

He said Butte County's location with the project would bring in revenue with lodging, food services, fuel stations, and other businesses from contractors on the project. The project would build electrical lines to pumping stations and possibly improve current roads. He said the company is mandated to contract local services where they can and workers in the area will also likely be able to find work with the project.

“During these bad economic times the project will provide needed work,” Lee said. “This will provide a considerable amount of revenue for South Dakota, we're talking millions of dollars.”

The project is estimated at around $7.7 billion and would transport 700,000 barrels of crude oil per day right from the start, increasing to 900,000 within the first year.

Workers will bury 36-inch diameter steel pipe seven feet below ground using a two-tone digging system that will keep topsoil and sub soil separate, preserving soil in South Dakota, Lee said.

He said right now they are negotiating with landowners in the state and are at about an 80 percent agreement statewide, as they try to move the pipeline through the state leaving as little impact as possible.

Work on the project could last as long as two years, Lee said. Officials hope to start work on the project in 2010 or the spring of 2011, as some counties have been harder than others to gain temporary easements to land.


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