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Noem Chats with TransCanada; Judge Keeps Brakes on Keystone XL

KOTA-TV reports the Governor Kristi Noem met with TransCanada officials to discuss “an agreement regarding the Keystone XL pipeline.” The Canadian pipeliner already has the PUC’s permission to seize land and imperil West River’s water supplies with its tar sands oil pipeline; apparently Governor Noem is trying to make it look like she’s tough by dickering over how much TransCanada has to pay for emergency response plans. South Dakotans can rest assured that Governor Noem will crack down on her inaugural donors. (Anyone want to set odds on TransCanada’s hiring Noem’s other daughter as its next pipeline liaison?)

But Noem can’t agree to let our Canadian overlords start setting up labor camps or blading the route. On Friday, federal Judge Brian Morris denied TransCanada’s request to start pre-construction work on the U.S. portion of the Keystone XL route. Judge Morris suspended that work in November when he ruled that the Trump Administration violated the law in reversing the Obama Administration’s rejection TransCanada’s Keystone XL application. Judge Morris also signaled that TransCanada’s convos with Noem may be for naught:

Today, the court largely stood by that ruling, finding that TransCanada is unlikely to succeed on its appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It also ruled that TransCanada remains blocked from constructing worker camps and conducting most other pre-construction activity along the pipeline route. The court did allow TransCanada to store pipe in storage yards located off the pipeline right of way, but only on private land that has been properly surveyed and analyzed. The court noted that any investment of resources would be at the company’s own peril.

“Today’s ruling does nothing to change the obvious fact that Keystone XL will never be built,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes. “After a decade of trying to force this pipeline on the American people, it’s time for TransCanada to finally get the message and give up” [Sierra Club, press release, 2019.02.15].

But don’t worry, Kassidy; if you can’t get your younger daughter a job with TransCanada, I’m sure you can find a spot for her on the state payroll with her big sis. Surely the Department of Tourism needs some more warm bodies for the summer season….

Judge Morris will hear arguments on motions to dismiss the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community’s lawsuit from TransCanada and fellow defendant the U.S. State Department on April 10 in U.S. District Court in Great Falls, Montana.

Bonus Boneheadedness: On January 18, TransCanada and the State Department asked the judge to extend their deadline for responding past February 4 because the Trump shutdown prohibited the Department of Justice lawyers Jean E Williams and Luther L Hajek from working on the case. The plaintiffs did not oppose the motion, but three days after ten air traffic controllers ended the shutdown, Judge Morris denied their motion, saying, “To stay these proceedings, however, due to the Federal Government’s failure to reopen and deny the Plaintiffs the right to be heard in relation to these alleged harms would contradict the interests of justice.”


  1. 96Tears 2019-02-17 09:48

    A Trump wannabe in search of an agenda. Any agenda.

  2. jerry 2019-02-17 10:29

    America cannot afford an oil spill. We are broke and getting broker each day. There is no tax refund for you suckers, only hollow words. Better look out your window to see if your car is still there or if the bank has not come to take it for non payment. There is no public transportation, so make sure your goulashes are in good stead. No cars means no need for the oil. It’s the economy stupid, it sucks.

    “You probably missed it unless you are closely tracking the predations of late stage vulture capitalism as it continues to suck the marrow out of the bones of America’s working class who under Trump are just sinking, like the Federal government itself, deeper and deeper into debt.

    The good news is, if you came out of your house to go to work recently and found your car was gone because it was repossessed, you are not alone. You are part of growing cohort of millions of other Americans for whom life sucks, even though they seem to be working all the time.

    In the midst of the never-ending Trump border wall sandstorm it was easy to miss the alarming report that we just set a new record for the number of Americans who have fallen at least three months behind in their car payments.

    That’s right, in the midst of Trump’s so-called great economy, seven million Americans, a record number, have fallen into that 90-day abyss where quite literally the wheels have come off their household finances.”

    Put on your red klan hat and walk to the rally.

  3. Rorschach 2019-02-17 10:32

    Managing decline is Noem’s agenda just as it was Daugaard’s agenda and Rounds’ agenda.

  4. Jason 2019-02-17 10:36

    There was no decline under Daugaaard and Rounds.

  5. Rorschach 2019-02-17 10:43

    Jerry, you are right about the economy not working well for working people, but struggling to pay for a new $35,000 car should not be the issue on which we focus our sympathy. An expensive car is a luxury. Healthcare, food security, homelessness – those are things that working people struggle with that they shouldn’t in this land of plenty.

  6. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 13:07

    The construction of a pipeline does not mean you have to buy a gas-powered vehicle. TransCanada is not telling you what to buy. Quite the opposite…we are buying larger vehicles and we not buying cars any more. Around here lots of people buy trucks.

    It is shocking to learn that companies are working to deliver the gasoline we actually use, or that they do not want to lose money at the same time.

    You can choose electric or hybrid vehicles instead. That will be more expensive, both for the vehicle if not any infrastructure to recharge said vehicle. And there will be an expense at the back end for recycling batteries or an environmental cost for simply throwing them away.

    Nevertheless you will still have pipelines to deliver the oil needed to be processed into gasoline for hybrids, or for the natural gas that supplements wind and solar in recharging electric vehicles. AAA reported that during the worst of the recent cold snap, battery ranges decreased by more than 40%…so the electricity needed for such an endeavor is larger than you may think.

    The effort here is to drive up the cost of gasoline and oil so that the other alternatives look better, or force other people to choose something else because there would be no other choice.

    But that approach does not force the alternatives to actually BE better.

  7. Debbo 2019-02-17 13:26

    TransCanada is not interested in “Moral Capitalism.” At one time that was a normal expectation of a business, though it’s always seemed the bigger the business, the less interested it was/is in any type of morality.

    Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, D-Mass, is working on a book with Caux Round Table Exec Dir Stephen B. Young on the subject of Moral Capitalism. (The 2 words are not at odds.)

    This definition comes from the article in the Business section of today’s Strib:
    “fiduciary responsibility regarding the private powers they held to act in the best interest of customers, employees, owners, creditors, communities and the environment.”

    Minnesota’s new leader, Gov. Tim Walz, moderate Democrat, calls it “servant leadership.”

    I would add shareholders as one of those the business acts in the best interests of, but certainly not the sole focus, as is often the case today.

    TransCanada does not come near the definition of a Moral Capitalist. Noem, as leader of a state’s economy, is certainly not aware of Servant Leadership either.

    The Strib article:

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-02-17 13:37

    Not one drop of oil shipped in Keystone XL is meant for my gas tank. Canada can already place its product on the U.S. market; it wants to ship more of its product to the global market for a higher price.

    Besides, I’m able to get all the gasoline I need here in Aberdeen without Keystone XL. Why bother?

  9. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 13:46

    So you would support the pipeline if it were to go right to your house?

    I was under the impression that more fuel on the global market would drive down the price here. And if global oil is less expensive, what does that mean for income coming into Russia or Saudi Arabia? Does that matter?

  10. Porter Lansing 2019-02-17 14:10

    A servant leader is a leader who:
    Values diverse opinions.
    Cultivates a culture of trust.
    Develops other leaders.
    Helps people with life issues (not just work issues).
    Sells instead of tells
    Thinks you, not me
    Thinks long-term
    Acts with humility
    “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” — Robert L Stevenson
    Democratic Party : Promoting Democratic Socialism and moral capitalism through servant leaders
    “This country has Democratic Socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor.” – Martin Luther King Jf.

  11. mike from iowa 2019-02-17 14:16

    We do not need dirty burning, higher carbon footprint garbage from Canada. We sure don’t need to deal with nearly impossible to clean up dilbit from inevitable spills that TraSH- Can may not be forced to pay for since dil bit is not taxed for clean up fund.

  12. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 14:20

    If you are going to build a pipeline, it should be as safe as it can be, which means both better pipe and monitoring. But the best way to reduce the need for pipelines is to actually not need them.

    By that I mean having a viable alternative to gas power, not simply going without.

    We benefit from the mobility that cars and other forms of transport afford us. We can go to the store whenever we want, visit our friends when we want to, go to the doctor when we need to, or go to work from a community of our choice.

    A transition to the alternatives will happen sooner if they are easier and cheaper to use (at least over a 5-10 year time frame).

  13. mike from iowa 2019-02-17 16:26

    We sure as shooting don’t need a pipeline which, if it gets built, will be because Obama opposed it. Right now, that is the only reason there is any talk of this non sense.

  14. mike from iowa 2019-02-17 16:30

    One last thing, I saw in town yesterday the price of unleaded was a single nickel per gallon higher than 10% ethanol. Did ethanol recently lose its subsidy because a week or two ago there was a thirty cent per gallon difference in price.

    Neither of these two petrol products have ever seen the inside of a Keystone pipeline, for the record.

  15. Donald Pay 2019-02-17 16:38

    My solution is to prevent people from buying trucks, I’m serious.

    You need a truck for work, that’s fine, you can buy it. But it actually better be for work, not just driving to and from. You don’t need a truck to haul around kids or to haul yourself to your office job, so, no you don’t get one.

    A lot of these things are owned by people who want to pretend they’re some working man. It’s as if they gotta have their gun and/or a truck because they don’t feel their 3 inches is enough. And this goes for those glorified SUVs, too.

    I don’t know about you but I’d be ashamed to drive that gas eater to a job where I parked it in the lot of a call centers or an insurance company. What kind of a man does that? A 3-inch man. At least that’s what I see around here. Well, I’m just guessing on the 3-inches. I don’t make a habit of measuring. It might be 2. It might be a little different in South Dakota, but I think not much. These are, most of them, pansies, or something like that.

    I’m sure you can make an excuse that these gas eating trucks are easier to get through snow in winter, but I’ve spent my entire driving life in sedans in South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. I could count on the fingers of two hand how many times I got stuck, and I’ve never been stuck bad enough that I couldn’t rock my way out, shovel my way out or have a neighbor or a passerby give me a push.

    Mostly, these trucks are a nuisance, and they are unsafe. The drivers generally think they have more traction than they do, so they speed on by, causing everyone else to have to slow down for them. You see a lot of them end up off the road in the ditch. If they are driving in the city, drivers in cars can’t see around them, so it ends up being a hazard to everyone else.

    Of course, these 3-inch wonders end up parking their hulks next to sedans at the grocery store. The stalls, of course, are marked off to fit sedans, not trucks. What that means is I have to smack their nicely painted truck to squeeze out of my sedan. And, of course, I have to back out of the stall blind. If I run over a kid, it ain’t my fault. Those trucks have no business parking in car stalls. They should have to park way in the very back of the parking lot, where these 3-inch wonders can walk off the pot belly that causes their dicky-do disease.

    Yeah, we could solve a lot of my problems by banning those trucks. Then we wouldn’t need any pipelines either.

  16. Debbo 2019-02-17 16:53

    Don is right.

    I call Hummers “compensators.” I see lots of SUVs in Minn and lots of big pickups driven by suburban people who don’t Need them, but Want them.

    A friend once bragged about her Chevy Suburban and how she needed it to keep her 2 children apart so they didn’t fight and to keep them safe. I told her that if I in my hatchback had a wreck with another average car, we’d both be injured. On the other hand, if she did, she might kill them.* She looked at me in shock, having never considered the danger her huge vehicle posed to others on the road.
    (*Depending on accident circumstances, but much more likely.)

  17. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 18:33

    Good luck winning elections after taking away people’s trucks.

    You have to give them something better for about the same price, (people will pay more if they see the value), and then power them with clean energy. Or you need to solve carbon capture.

    Ford by the way is working on an all-electric F-150.

  18. mike from iowa 2019-02-17 18:46

    Make pipelines fool proof. Only ship wind and solar energy through them.

  19. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 18:48

    ….and stop driving those sedans all over the place! We’ll need extra pipelines just for that.

  20. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 18:53

    That’s not a terrible idea Mike. I wonder if you could locate suitable transmission lines for more wind/solar power along or next to the pipelines so there could be a win-win. Not sure how room they have to do that however.

  21. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 19:23

    It looks like there would be issues of electromagnetic interference and safety that they would have to work through, but not impossible. Things are simpler if those are not co-located, but it looks like that is occurring more (if not simply crossing paths).

  22. grudznick 2019-02-17 19:39

    Mark it down here, the Dakota Free Press out-of-staters are against F-150s and Suburbans. Also mark down that grudznick is for those fancy bicycles built for two people.

  23. Debbo 2019-02-17 19:48

    Good idea Mike.

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-02-17 20:23

    No, Robert, I’m simply rebutting the argument that the Keystone XL pipeline means more and cheaper gasoline for my tank. I understand your supply-and-demand point, but the global oil market is not as homogeneous as we might think. Canada takes a discount on the oil that gets bottled up here on the continent. We enjoy a relative supply glut here, keeping prices down. transfer that glut to the global market, and Canadian producers will make more money selling that oil overseas. They’ll also reduce the supply available here, meaning our prices go up.

    I see no national interest in helping Canadian oil producers make more money while raising our consumer fuel prices.

  25. Porter Lansing 2019-02-17 20:24

    Notice how conserva-trolls continually criticize anyone outside of SD for commenting on a blog post? This is because they are truly paranoid of outsiders knowing/seeing who they really are – way deep down inside. It’s their soft/weak spot, and it needs to get punched and stabbed. – Adam

  26. Rorschach 2019-02-17 20:46

    Don wants to ban pickups. I want to prohibit people from standing still in front of me on escalators. I see the beginning of an agenda for Noem.

  27. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-17 20:51

    Yes Cory, the Canadian companies and Canadian government stand to benefit from such an arrangement. And there would still be other forces that impact global demand and supply besides this pipeline.

    You could have more supply and higher prices at times, just like one can have very cold temperatures for a week and still have climate change. And having access to more supply may in fact spur greater demand, which will impact pricing.

    With regard to our own national interest, the fuel would be going through American refineries. So even if somebody else is buying that gasoline, states and the feds accrue monies. And there are probably property taxes, etc. all along the route.

    Now what they do with those monies is the real kicker. But as tax is still a three-letter word, I suspect that the monies accrued from such trade will be spent pretty quickly.

  28. RICHARD SCHRIEVER 2019-02-18 08:21

    McTaggart – those refineries down at Port Arthur that the KVL pipeline will terminate at are in a “Foreign Trade Zone”. Those zones are considered to be “outside the US” for tax purposes. So as far as collecting any tax revenues from their operation – there is NONE to be had – due to the “good fortune” of their location.

  29. Donald Pay 2019-02-18 08:36

    Grudz, of course, spent some time out-of-state, actually, out-of-country. Tells us, Grudz, about your out-of-state experiences. What perspective did being out-of-state give you? Are you better off for making a big salary outside of South Dakota?

  30. mike from iowa 2019-02-18 08:37

    Them Texas refineries also have ocean going access to ship dirty diesel and jet fuel to higher paying European and Far Eastern markets.

  31. Donald Pay 2019-02-18 08:38

    Ror, how about we just ban escalators? Who, but people with dicky-do disease, uses them?

  32. mike from iowa 2019-02-18 10:41

    Exports of refined gasoline are exempt from Federal excise
    taxation. Accordingly, an increase in the Federal excise tax on
    gasoline may simply increase the market price of gasoline in
    the U.S. and encourage the export of gasoline to foreign
    markets, primarily West Africa and Latin America. Any
    reduction in negative environmental externalities from an
    increase in the Federal gasoline excise tax in the United States
    is therefore likely to be mooted (or perhaps made worse) on a
    global basis. The Federal excise tax on gasoline appears to be
    the most regressive form of taxation when both direct and
    indirect costs are taken into account. This article is the first to
    estimate the indirect costs (i.e., imbedded transports costs) to
    U.S. persons of a Federal gasoline and diesel taxes using data
    from the Consumer Expenditure Survey of 2012. This article
    further updates and expands Poterba´s (1991) empirical
    calculation of the regressivity of the Federal gasoline tax based
    on direct gasoline expenditures. Finally, this article
    recommends that the Jones Act restrictions on gasoline
    shipment between the Gulf Coast refineries and East Coast
    terminals be removed.

  33. Robert McTaggart 2019-02-18 14:20

    Richard…I wasn’t aware of that. Good info.

    The tax and fee collection still is not zero though…that flows through the employees and where they live, if not the equipment that they have to buy to run the thing.

    Is the amount of direct and indirect taxation worth it in the long run? We’d have to see if more flows into the Treasury than out of it. Is it better that other nations depend on us for refined gasoline as opposed to certain other nations? Probably.

    Would it be better overall if we were the one-stop shop for clean energy technology and infrastructure? Yes, but we are behind China in both solar and nuclear at the moment.

  34. Jason 2019-02-19 00:01

    If I only read the DFP, I wouldn’t know that California axed the high speed train project.

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