Governor's Desk

The sad story of cancelling the Keystone pipeline permit


It may seem cliché, but energy independence is a matter of national security. The United States is a net exporter of energy, which means that we can guarantee our ability to provide for our own energy needs, no matter what situation that the world may throw at us.

With that in mind, I was terribly disheartened to hear that President Biden cancelled the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have helped secure America’s energy independence for years to come.

This issue strikes close to home for us here in South Dakota. Last year, TC Energy – the company building the pipeline – estimated that the project would bring 3,500 jobs to our state. Many of those jobs were already in place, as crews were laying the groundwork for the eventual pipeline itself.

But the impact to the South Dakota economy extends far beyond the direct pipeline jobs. Local businesses – hotels, gas stations, restaurants, and more – benefited from the business brought by these workers.

One such business was the Stroppel Hotel and Mineral Springs in Midland. Laurie Cox, the owner of that business, has said that the Keystone workers who stayed at her hotel for months have become like family. She says that she and other local business owners “responded to a need that was in the community” when they invested and grew these small businesses. And now, it doesn’t appear that those investments will pay off for her or her neighbors.

But the impact of this decision goes beyond even the communities directly next to the proposed pipeline route. The pipeline would have helped every family in South Dakota because it would have saved them money on gas for their car, or their gas bill at home. Instead, citizens across South Dakota – and Americans nationwide – should expect to see their gas prices increase in the months and years to come as a result of the Biden administrations actions on oil and gas policy.

We all remember the days when gas was three dollars-per-gallon or higher. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened since 2014. But it appears that we can expect far higher gas prices in the very near future.

Cancelling the pipeline is the wrong policy on national security. It’s the wrong policy on jobs. But it’s also the wrong policy on the environment.

Opponents of Keystone claim that they’re supporting the environment. But the pipeline would have made it safer to transport oil from an environmental standpoint. The alternative is to transport it by truck or train – far riskier methods of transit. And the pipeline itself would have been Net-Zero emissions from the day it began operations, according to TC Energy.

Congressman Dusty Johnson is taking the lead on legislation that would get the Keystone XL pipeline reauthorized, and he has my support in this endeavor. We’ll continue to fight to defend South Dakota communities from federal overreach. And I promise to work every day to help South Dakota small business owners like Laurie Cox.


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