BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. – Officials in a South Dakota county are preparing for the possibility of protests over the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline by securing more jail cells.
The Butte County Commission approved an agreement last month to use Faulk County jails for $85 per day per inmate, should the need arise, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.
The move comes as TransCanada plans to start constructionon the oil pipeline this year, a timeline that could be delayed after a federal judge in November blocked the $8 million project to allow more time to study its potential environmental impact. Many environmental groups and Native American tribes view the 1,184-mile (1,900-kilometer) pipeline as a threat to the environment.
Part of the pipeline is slated to be built through the northeastern corner of Butte County. The county currently holds its inmates at the Meade County Jail in Sturgis. The pipeline will also run through that county.
Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere said he’s concerned that the jail would fill up quickly should civil disturbances occur. He expects other nearby areas to also have limited space, so officials struck an agreement with a county nearly 270 miles (435 kilometers) east.
Lamphere said the pipeline company plans to begin construction in four different locations at the same time to spread out the location of potential protests.
The Keystone XL pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta, Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska.