The decision by the U.S. State Department to have TransCanada look for an alternate route for its Keystone XL oil pipeline across Nebraska is being called “disappointing” by officials in South Dakota.
Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels says it’s a bad call.
“What’s shortsighted about it is the fact that this delay is going to create problems potentially with the exporting of that oil to other purchasers in the Far East where there’s so much explosive growth,” Michels says, “and we really need it for our domestic welfare.”
The Nebraska legislature is in the midst of a special session debating the route of the proposed seven-billion-dollar pipeline and the role the state can play in moving the line.
Michels says all sides involved in the pipeline decision should slow down and take another look at the issues.
“We’ve gotta’ just take a breath and look,” he says. “There’s definitely a balance within our environment. I hope and the governor hopes that this doesn’t delay it as long as what the news accounts are saying and we’re closely monitoring it. We, too, were surprised.”
Michels says South Dakota has gone back to TransCanada to talk about safety standards for the pipeline.
The governors from most of the states in the Missouri River basin have met several times in Omaha in recent months to discuss issues relating to this summer’s flooding. They could’ve talked about the pipeline then.
“That was a very, very good opportunity to say, okay, if there is something that someone else in an area, especially an aquifer area, has a better idea, let’s go ahead and revisit it,” Michels says. “I still think from that standpoint, you can do that and evaluate that without the delay that is being proposed right now.”
Opponents of the pipeline’s current route want it moved away from environmentally-sensitive areas like the Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton