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Expand Medicaid, Create More South Dakota Jobs Than Keystone XL and Dakota Access

Rep. Kristi Noem has told us we should use eminent domain, usurp executive authority to unconstitutionally benefit one company, and build the Keystone XL pipeline because the Canadian tar sands pipeline would create 42,100 jobs (the number she has settled on between her past claims of 20,000 and 130,000 KXL jobs, but still a false claim. Governor Dennis Daugaard agrees that Keystone XL is worth doing for job creation.

Energy Transfer buys three quarters of a page in my morning paper to tell northeastern South Dakota that plowing up farm fields to ship Bakken oil across East River through the Dakota Access Pipeline is a good idea because it will create 4,000 jobs*:

Energy Partners, propaganda for Dakota Access Pipeline, Aberdeen American News, 2015.05.04, p. 9A.
Energy Partners, propaganda for Dakota Access Pipeline, Aberdeen American News, 2015.05.04, p. 9A. (Highlighted text shows area of close-up below.)
Energy Partners, propaganda for Dakota Access Pipeline, Aberdeen American News, 2015.05.04, p. 9A. (Highlighted text shows job-creation claim.)
Energy Partners, propaganda for Dakota Access Pipeline, Aberdeen American News, 2015.05.04, p. 9A. (Highlighted text shows job-creation claim.)

Yet Rep. Noem, Governor Daugaard, and other job-minded continue to oppose the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, which will create 40,000 jobs just in Kentucky:

Medicaid expansion will add 40,000 jobs and $30 billion to the state’s economy through 2021, according to a new study Deloitte Consulting LLC and the University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute released today. Expansion will also generate a net positive impact of nearly $820 million to state and local government budgets [Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, press release, 2015.02.12].

The Deloitte/U. Louisville USI study enumerates numerous economic benefits beyond jobs for Kentucky, which had the wisdom to expand Medicaid early in 2014. It also lends credence to the data we’ve seen that indicates expanding Medicaid in South Dakota could create nearly 30,000 jobs.

Oil creates jobs but makes healthy people ill. Medicaid expansion creates jobs and makes sick people well. Even if we accept our Congresswoman’s dreamy numbers, we must conclude that Medicaid expansion would create more ongoing South Dakota jobs than Keystone XL and Dakota Access combined.

*Correction 15:24 CDT: The original version of this post said that Energy Transfer’s ad claimed the Dakota Access Pipeline would create 40,000 jobs, even though the photo of their ad clearly shows the company claims 4,000 construction jobs. I apologize for confusing Energy Transfer’s reasonable jobs estimate with Rep. Kristi Noem’s inflated job estimates for Keystone XL.


  1. Paul Seamans 2015-05-04 10:25

    Dakota Access is promising $13 million a year to counties along the route in new property taxes for the 274 miles of pipe. TransCanada is promising $20 million a year for the 313 miles of the Keystone XL route. For the Keystone 1 route TransCanada promised $9 million a year in new property taxes for the 200 miles of the route. Over the past four years, using TransCanada’s own figures, the counties along the route in South Dakota are receiving on the average around $3.3 million a year. Promised $9 million, receiving $3.3 million. Rest assured that this will also happen to the counties along the Dakota Access and the KXL route.

  2. Lynn 2015-05-04 10:32


    Has the state or counties ever challenged TransCanada to pay up the shortfall for Keystone 1 from what they were promised in property taxes?

  3. Paul Seamans 2015-05-04 10:56

    Maybe some of the counties have, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll learn more in time as Dakota Rural Action has started organizing people along he Dakota Access route and I am in touch with some of the landowners along Keystone 1, I will ask if any county commissioners have called TransCanada on their false promises. Most people so want to believe these promises of huge tax revenue benefits that they don’t question these multi-billion dollar corporations.
    As for the state calling them to task; Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard are so in love with these oil/pipeline companies that they wouldn’t want to embarrass them by bringing this up. Whoops, I forgot to include John and Kristi in with Mike and Dennis.

  4. Lynn 2015-05-04 11:14


    I didn’t know that the spread was that much! That is quite a bit given the environmental risk, the financial needs of our state and counties. I wish someone would step up and recover that difference especially before there is any movement for future pipelines.

    Meanwhile this is another example of already burdened taxpayers picking up the difference from what was promised and subsidizing their profits.

  5. Craig 2015-05-04 11:25

    Frankly I don’t care if Medicaid expansion wouldn’t result in a single new job… it still the right thing to do for those that are in greatest need of the assistance.

    What does it say for a state or a nation that ignores the needs of those who have the greatest need while pandering to large mega-corporations that are only interested in profits and growth at the expense of the nation and its citizens?

  6. Daniel Buresh 2015-05-04 11:26

    The dakota access pipeline needs to be built and that will bring thousands of jobs to areas of ND. That oil needs to be in a pipeline even more than the tarsands oil. We can’t keep endangering people’s lives by sending them on rail lines.

  7. Les 2015-05-04 11:31

    An aside to some or all of this, I won’t mind a fully redeveloped rail system when all is said and done.

  8. Paul Seamans 2015-05-04 11:44

    I agree with Les. A developed railroad will deliver more products to more places than will a pipeline that will deliver one product to one place. In regards to jobs; the Keystone XL will provide 35 jobs once it is finished, a fully functioning railroad will provide good jobs far into the future. For the past two years the BNSF has invested $5 to $6 billion a year into upgrades. They plan on spending a like amount this year.

  9. jerry 2015-05-04 11:44

    The oil in the pipeline will be just as explosive as it is in the rail cars. It will be much like det cord in a 274 mile controlled explosión.

  10. mike from iowa 2015-05-04 13:01

    What do people’s lives mean compared to koporate profits and campaign funds for wingnuts and some traitorious Dumbocrats???

  11. MD 2015-05-04 13:28

    “Energy Transfer buys three quarters of a page in my morning paper to tell northeastern South Dakota that plowing up farm fields to ship Bakken oil across East River through the Dakota Access Pipeline is a good idea because it will create 40,000 jobs:”

    I see 4,000 in the newspaper advertisement. It appears you got a case of the Noem Inflation’s yourself.

    [Editor’s note: Yes, MD! Probably just bad typing on my part… but if we can shift the blame to Noem, well, I’m game! I have fixed the number above and apologize for the error. —CAH]

    While I disagree with the use of eminent domain and things of that nature for building a pipeline, building a pipeline would be a decent way to augment the shipment of oil by rail, which is quite a bit more dangerous. (Just read about the two trains that derailed near Casselton, ND within 3 years of each other, both in nearly the same spot)
    Remember how the railroads got their start as well, big land grabs/land grants, and if they wanted to expand to increase their capacity with additional track, etc, they are going to want the same things as the oil pipelines – are we ready to do that?
    So while we shouldn’t drink the Republican Kool-Aid about the number of jobs it will create, it is possible to build these pipelines (at least the Dakota Access) without it being such a political ordeal.

  12. mike from iowa 2015-05-04 13:50

    In iowa,Energy Transfer has been telling farmers who haven’t made up their minds whether to sign or not,that their neighbors have signed when their neighbors haven’t signed. We need less pipelines and more renewable energy.

  13. Paul Seamans 2015-05-04 14:04

    The discrepancy in the jobs number of 4,000 or the 40,000 is because the 4,000 number is for actual construction jobs. The 40,000 jobs number comes about because Energy Transfer Partners, like TransCanada, is willing to count any ancillary job associated with the pipeline so that they are able to inflate their promise of job numbers. The FSEIS for the Keystone XL came up with a figure of 42,100 jobs created. This even included a few jobs created for dancers in New York City. Go figure. I am assuming that they think that a pipeline worker from the state of New York will take some of his wages earned in the state of South Dakota and will go back to New York and buy a ticket to Broadway.

  14. Paul Seamans 2015-05-04 14:18

    Railroads, like pipeline companies, both call theirselves common carriers and they are supposed to provide equal service to all comers. There are many products that I can ship on railroads. I am not in any way involved in oil production so there are no products that I can ship on a pipeline. I can see the legitimacy of a railroad using eminent domain to acquire land for additional track. I can not see giving that right to a for profit pipeline company.

  15. bearcreekbat 2015-05-04 14:29

    The RC Journal recently reported about the financial difficulties that our state’s rural hospitals are experiencing. These hospitals are in extreme danger of closing their doors due to these financial problems. Apparently this problem is not limited to South Dakota. According to the article 70% of the rural hospitals that are running into financial troubles are located in red states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion money, just like good old SD. Coincidence?

  16. Roger Cornelius 2015-05-04 14:45

    Medicaid Expansion will come to South Dakota when the SDGOP gets it through their thick heads that there is “gold in them there hills” or uninsured.

    As bear points out, what a financial solution boom Medicaid Expansion would be for the ailing hospitals and the patients that could utilize their services.

    How much money has been lost and how many jobs have not filled since the SDGOP started its resistance to Medicaid Expansion?

  17. MD 2015-05-04 15:05

    How about we finance Medicaid expansion with the taxes from the pipeline?
    Some states are taxing hospitals to pay for Medicaid expansion, how about we leave them alone and use some of this “$52 million guaranteed tax revenue”
    That way, when they don’t pay the amount they promise, Daugaard will have someone to blame and go after (But, since they are related to business, he likely won’t).

  18. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-05-04 15:48

    I see three areas that need to be looked at:

    1. Renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. This pays off on a number of levels including environmental and human health, with a greater permanent employment boost.

    2. Safety. Disastrous train derailmento are a real danger, and stronger tank cars are being phased in. If a train derails, fire is not guaranteed, and the amount of crude pouring into the environment has a specific limit. Pipeline leaks can destroy watersheds and vast acres of land.

    3. As oil prices remain on the low end, how do we know that Energy Transfer won’t declare bankruptcy and stick SD taxpayers with extensive clean up costs due to old, corroded and leaking pipes?

    Lastly, if you were running a business and a company like this wanted you to partner with them, would you?

  19. Donald Pay 2015-05-04 16:05

    The Dakota Access Pipeline route is right through the area indicated for Deep Borehole Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Defense Wastes undergoing preliminary studies now by the US Department of Energy.

    The deadline for comments on the draft Request for Proposal regarding drilling for the deep borehole disposal test is tomorrow, May 5, 2015.

    I’ve tried to access this document and the pervious Request for Information, but haven’t been able to because it’s protected. I guess only certain folks, not the public, can see it.

    I expect there may be a South Dakota entity commenting on this, and should they, I will attempt to obtain that document(s). The person at the Department of Energy heading this up is:

    Mark B. Payne
    Idaho Operations
    US Department of Energy
    1955 Fremont Ave.
    Idaho Falls, ID 83415

  20. John Albert 2015-05-04 16:37

    How is it that TransCanada determines what will be paid in taxes? Let’s all go “free will tax donation”.

  21. larry kurtz 2015-05-04 16:55

    Jobs for white people constructing any pipeline? Prove it, Kristi.

  22. larry kurtz 2015-05-04 17:07

    H2-B immigrant workers dominate not only the pipeline construction sector but nearly every building trade in the US: the myth of KXL jobs for American workers is a Koch-built lie based on their lease holdings in the tar sands region.

    Kristi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALEC/AFP manufactured by Koch Industries.

  23. larry kurtz 2015-05-04 17:09

    And who will absorb the medical expenses for workers who get hurt building any pipeline in South Dakota? Counties already strapped by the failures of the Rounds and Daugaard years.

    Stupid state.

  24. owen 2015-05-04 17:57

    Cory maybe you should take this information and call Noem’s office and see what they say?
    My guess they’d say they’ll get back to you and of course they never will.

  25. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-05-04 17:59

    Using eminent domain against our own citizens for any corporation, much less a foreign one, reeks to the high heavens. To whom is our government answerable?

    Remindful of when Mike Rounds used the SD Highway patrol to force the Yankton Sioux to accept the sow/baby pig confinement operation from Iowa, down at Marty. Our government has no conscience.

  26. JeniW 2015-05-04 18:22

    Why is it that the supporters for the pipeline refuse to answer my question about what will happen to the pipeline when the pipeline shuts down permanently?,

    There will come a time when it will cost more to pump oil than what it is worth.

    The gold mine industry all but shut down leaving a mess left behind. IMO, that is what will happen with the pipeline

  27. bearcreekbat 2015-05-04 18:22

    Lanny, I sympathize with your argument, yet your angst seems misdirected. There is nothing wrong with “our government.”

    The problem stems from the people we voters have elected to run “our government.” When you attack “our government” you sound like someone who will blame “our family automobile” for the accident that happens when we allow a drunk to drive it.

    I humbly request that people stop attacking “our government” for actions of the idiots we elect to run it. We have a wonderful government and we need to find intelligent, empathetic and compassionate people to run it, rather than some of the doofuses that we tend to elect year after year by blindly voting party lines rather than policy preferences.

  28. grudznick 2015-05-04 18:55

    Obamacare will take care of all unless they repeal it.

  29. grudznick 2015-05-04 19:26

    Mr. bat is correct, Mr. Stricherz. You are your government.

  30. Bill Dithmer 2015-05-04 21:00

    Is there a law that says a county cant impose an “impact fee” to protect their tax base from a very possible environmental problem?

    They are trying an experiment in Pennsylvania you can see that here.

    They said it could be calculated based on the acreage of linear feet plus right-of-way width of a pipeline using the county average land value in an affected area. 

    But then that sounds to simple to work.

    The Blindman

  31. grudznick 2015-05-04 21:02

    * it’s just a misplaced comma, Mr. H. That can happen to anybody doing math.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-04 21:31

    Craig, thank you for the reminder of the moral imperative behind expanding Medicaid. I’m just trying to think like the folks in Pierre and convince them in their own paradigm. ;-)

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-04 21:37

    …as I’m trying to do with Daniel. He says, “The dakota access pipeline needs to be built and that will bring thousands of jobs to areas of ND.”

    That’s exactly what Medicaid expansion will do for South Dakota.

    “That oil needs to be in a pipeline even more than the tarsands oil. We can’t keep endangering people’s lives by sending them on rail lines.”

    Nor can we keep endangering people’s lives by leaving them without health coverage. Ready to expand Medicaid, Daniel?

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-04 21:42

    MD: fund the state’s share of Medicaid expansion with taxes from the pipeline? Brilliant! I might sign on to that compromise. If Daniel is right, if we absolutely have to ship that oil across our fair state, then we deserve as big a piece of the action as we can get to compensate us for the ongoing risk we assume.

    And Paul makes an interesting point about rail vs. pipeline: rail we could all put to use well after the oil runs dry or becomes too costly to pump. Why build this specialized infrastructure that can serve only one product from a handful of producers?

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-04 21:46

    (Donald, is there a map showing where the Energy Dept. is thinking about putting those boreholes?)

  36. Paul Seamans 2015-05-04 21:50

    Back in 2008 TransCanada estimated that building the entire 1790 miles of the Keystone XL would create 4000-5000 jobs. As time went on and supplemental environmental impact statements came about this estimate was bumped up to 42,100 jobs to build the remaining 1200 miles. I will miss my guess if Dakota Access doesn’t start promising greater job numbers in order to swing people to their side. Your statement of 40,000 jobs to build the Dakota Access will soon match what Energy Transfer Partners will start promising.
    By the way; the 4000 jobs Dakota Access is promising are for the 274 miles in South Dakota. They also estimate 10,000 to 12,000 temporary jobs for the state. By comparison the 42,100 jobs promised for the Keystone XL are for the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, and Alberta all together.

  37. Donald Pay 2015-05-05 08:01


    Right now Sandia Labs has identified a general area in South Dakota, which I provided in a link on a different post. The strategy (call it the Obama Dump Strategy, or “Odious”) has been to get buy-in from the state and locals, which Daugaard has given them in spades, and let the state sell itself out to the Department of Energy, rather than have the DOE being seen as shoving the dump down throats. It’s just a public relations strategy that they think corrects the issue of states being overrun by the feds, but it amounts to the feds dumping their problem on the states.

    It’s clear Daugaard is slowly selling the state out to the Department of Energy, but he refuses to come clean with the public. There have been several rounds of “Requests for Information” and today is the deadline for comments on the “Draft Request for Proposals.” After that there will be a formal Request For Proposals, I assume, and NEPA documentation, which will be rather limited because they really want to shove this thing up your ass fast once the full scale of this thing becomes known.

  38. Les 2015-05-05 08:46

    Did this start with our legislature handing SD DENR’s authority over to the Feds, Don or is that just what the legis said it was, lobbyists lying to them as to what lead them astray?

  39. MD 2015-05-05 11:36

    Im not jumping at the thought of a pipeline, but I think the forces are not in our favor and compromise is our best bet.
    We could leverage Dakota Access and Keystone XL to our advantage if we play our cards right. Along with the Medicaid expansion, we could also take a look and see how it could be used to help fund education or other public works projects. Daugaard wants to keep our taxes low, but if he is willing to bargain with business a bit, he might be able to use that to fund services that we need and still be able to beat his chest about low taxes and how we are better than Mars.

    The key is, he has to be less interested in catering to the pipeline’s business and more towards the people of South Dakota. TransCanada and Energy Transfer temporary job creations, which can be beneficial, but they don’t provide a ton of lasting jobs, they are simply using South Dakota as a means to an end, thus we need to make sure we gain enough out of the agreement that we can make up for the potential downfalls. Once they get what they want, they won’t give anything more.
    Once we get past the Republicans screaming their case about job creation and the Democrats screaming about the environment, we can boil down to some actual issues and get something out of it, rather than just having a constant back and forth that will eventually result in the pipeline being built and the state getting little to show for it. There are forces at work that will be hard for us to control, yes, it is caving to them, but capitalism has involved compromising bigger man since its inception.

    As a bit of support for my notion of using the pipeline to fund education, the Conde School District was able to stay open for many years longer since they were funded primarily by a pipeline that ran through the district.
    Hopefully, we could use that similar idea to help float the ship for everyone in the state (whether through Medicaid expansion or education funding)

  40. Donald Pay 2015-05-05 13:01


    No, these are separate issues. What the Legislature did with uranium mining regulation isn’t really applicable here, except as a signal that South Dakota would be a doormat to the nuclear industry.

    But there is a lobby for nuclear waste disposal in South Dakota that works in the background, because they know citizens would be outraged at what they are trying to pull. They have two (maybe more) efforts going on. One is with shale for a large-scale repository for commercial nuclear waste (nuclear power plants). This would be located in the western part of South Dakota. The second effort is for deep borehole disposal of the most highly radioactive defense wastes. This would be sited in eastern South Dakota.

    A Rapid City corporation, RESPEC, has been in the nuke waste business on and off for 35 years. Then you’ve got the Homestake Lab, which used to be more of an academic/scientific enterprise, but is now a Department of Energy beachhead to push high-level radioactive waste. Then you have the states’ Science and Technology Commission, I believe the name is. Basically, they are just flunkies with pull in the state. Then, of course, there’s a few profs at the School of Mines and Technology wrapped up in what they will tell you is research, but is really an effort to put a “local” patina on this effort. Heather Wilson has long been a wheeler dealer in the military/non-military government/nuclear industrial complex (such a wheeler-dealer, in fact, that it got to the point where the feds could bring charges against her).

    Anyway, here’s an article about recent changes in the nuclear waste policy in the Obama Administration. This is what I call the Obama Disposal Strategy (ODS or “Odious”).

  41. jerry 2015-05-05 13:48

    Lanny, what is this about, and when did it happen? “Remindful of when Mike Rounds used the SD Highway patrol to force the Yankton Sioux to accept the sow/baby pig confinement operation from Iowa, down at Marty”

  42. leslie 2015-05-06 02:12

    larry funy- “Koch-built lie based on their lease holdings in the tar sands region.

    Kristi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALEC/AFP manufactured by Koch Industries.”

    thks don 4 this continuing expose’ on regents, sdsmt, respec, ftmr hmc and their getting rich at citizens’ risk.

    buresh exaggerates outrageously-“We can’t keep endangering people’s lives by sending them on rail lines.”

  43. Daniel Buresh 2015-05-06 09:23

    Exaggerates Leslie? Where is your head buried?….Welcome to the real world where trains are killing people because anti-science morons are still stuck in the past on rail lines. Pipeline is safer. Even if we make a huge move to renewable resources, we are looking at 50 -100 years before we reduce our oil dependency drastically. Get that through your heads.

  44. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-05-06 23:56

    Daniel, I don’t disagree that derailments are dangerous and can be deadly. What is your solution to the massive oil spills from pipelines? They can be terribly destructive too.

Comments are closed.