Questions between bigger business and a healthy environment are at much of the controversy of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would come through Valley County and travel all the way to Nebraska and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.
This past week the final supplemental environmental impact statement was released that could clear up some issues for the final approval of President Obama. The pipeline would come through Valley County and pass by Glasgow, and could create jobs and bring tax dollars to the county. Arguments on the dangers towards potential accidents and environmental effects have slowed the process of the project.
The findings of the report said that the oil from the tar sands in Alberta generate about 7 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional crude oil, but transportation of that oil releases more gases that the pipeline would. After some recent accidents in North Dakota of trains hauling oil, accident investigators also warned of the transportation of oil from the Bakken and Canada to refineries.
The analysis also proposed a different route than what was analyzed in 2011. In Glasgow the route has changed slightly to go around Cut Across Road, moving out around half a mile of what was originally planned. It would also go around the Sandhills region in Nebraska. The northern portion of the proposed pipeline would span from Morgan, Mont., to Steele City, Neb., and would deliver up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and from the Bakken.
More than 400,000 submissions were received during the scoping period and more than 1.5 million submissions were received during the public comment period.
The pipeline project was originally submitted in 2008 with the first environmental impact statement being released in 2011. The original route continued from Nebraska to Cushing, Okla. And then on toward the Gulf Coast area. An existing pipeline has already been built through Kansas to Cushing, Okla.
During construction, the report said that around 42,100 jobs and approximately $2 billion in earnings would be added to the U.S. economy. Those jobs are both direct and indirect. Around 3,900 of those jobs would be direct construction jobs in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Property tax revenues would be between 10 to 17 percent in local counties.
Gov. Steve Bullock released a statement on Friday supporting the decision and hopes that it will create more pressure on Obama to approve the pipeline. He added that as long as property rights are protected and the project is done right that it could create jobs and security of domestic energy.