News & Features

Democrat: Keystone XL Developer Should Pay into Cleanup Fund

Measures targeting oil pipelines will face a difficult path in South Dakota's Republican supermajority Legislature

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota lawmakers should require the Keystone XL pipeline’s developer to pay into a state oil spill cleanup fund and impose more regulations on so-called man camps, the state Senate Democratic leader said Friday.

Sen. Troy Heinert, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said that the state and legislators should sit down with the tribes to hear their concerns. The proposals come a day after Rosebud President Rodney Bordeaux addressed the Legislature, saying the pipeline gives his people great anxiety.

“We know that a lot of the resistance is going to come near tribal land,” Heinert said of the pipeline that would go through South Dakota. “Nobody wants violence … on any side, but nobody wants to be, you know, run over by private security forces either.”

The project is being delayed by a federal court that found the Trump Administration didn’t fully consider the environmental effects when it approved the permit for the 1,184-mile (1,900 kilometer) pipeline, intended to ship up to 830,000 barrels a day of Canadian crude through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with lines to carry oil to Gulf Coast refineries. A hearing on the proposed pipeline is scheduled for Monday in Montana.

Heinert said he would “just as soon see it not built.”

Measures targeting oil pipelines will face a difficult path in South Dakota’s Republican supermajority Legislature. Heinert proposed unsuccessful legislation in 2017 that would have created an oil spill fund and sponsored a failed plan last year to require the state, after any oil spill, to immediately conduct a chemical analysis of the spill, the surrounding ground and the closest water source.

During his State of the Tribes message, Bordeaux said he watched with regret as South Dakota lawmakers passed an “anti-protest” measure in 2017 to address potential oil pipeline demonstrations.

Bordeaux said tribes believe the law was enacted to limit “our people and our right to protest.” The measure imposed new penalties for standing in the highway to stop traffic or trespassing in posted emergency areas, coming after demonstrations over the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota that resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who was sworn in to office this month, said she supports a “peaceful build” of Keystone XL and that the state will make sure it is clean and efficient and protects the water and environment. Noem said she’s asked her staff to review the protest law with her.

“Our Constitution guarantees us the right to peaceful protests, and that is something that we will certainly honor here in our state,” Noem said.

Comments

comments