Keystone XL Pipeline
Dakota Rural Action organizes landowners
On the heels of the first Keystone project in Eastern South Dakota, oil transportation company TransCanada began to work on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal through Western South Dakota. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline will carry tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas, crossing an estimated 313 miles of South Dakota land, and an untold number of drinking and agriculture water sources.
Dakota Rural Action (DRA) has been working with landowners since 2008 to ensure that if Keystone XL does cross western SD, our land, water, and resources are protected, and it is not at a cost to the state and its people.
By organizing landowners along the route and extending our organizational efforts into Nebraska and Montana, DRA was able to form a democratically elected Landowner Negations Team to work in the groups’ interests in negotiations with TransCanada.
At the first meeting discussing the proposed pipeline in Reva, SD landowners were faced with a bleak future. The first Keystone project had been built with little or no attention paid to it and the outlook was similar for the newly proposed Keystone XL. One of the members attending the meeting said, if during the course of this debate we could make the President have to address this issue in front of the nation, we might have a chance to get a good decision. Now recent history shows protests in Washington with over 1,200 citizens being arrested in opposition to this pipeline.
Dakota Rural Action also assisted SD landowners in organizing the group, Protect South Dakota Resources, to share the burden of legal expenses among themselves and negotiate collectively with TransCanada. PSDR concluded negotiations with TransCanada in early 2011.
The final negotiated easement, though signed under ‘gag order,’ is a matter of public record and available at courthouses in the KXL affected counties in SD. The settlement can also be viewed here…Protect SD Resources Negotiated KXL Settlement
The final easement offer was lacking in many areas. During negotiations, TransCanada had unfair leverage due to the looming threat of eminent domain. Unfortunately when landowners were faced with the prospect of being taken through condemnation proceedings most ended up reluctantly signing on. However one DRA member has decided the threats are too large and has refused to sign a deal with TransCanada and is currently facing Eminent Domain charges.
DRA has been and continues to work with our landowner members to ensure that the issues and concerns raised by the Keystone XL pipeline proposal are recognized and addressed throughout the state and federal permitting processes, and through local ordinances and state legislation.
For more information, contact Sabrina King at email@example.com or 605.716.2200