Just A Pipe Dream Now?
'With All The Delays, It's Hard To Say (Keystone XL) Will Be Approved,' Project Contractor Tells Council
While the news has been heard nationwide, Glasgow heard some of it from Bud Anderson, an independent contractor with TransCanada who works for Western Energy Planning and has been working on the Keystone XL Pipeline project.
Glasgow and Valley County are in a position where the pipeline would directly affect the economy and services in the surrounding area. Benefits of the project have been put on hold as the Department of State has sent out a memorandum requesting for more time to allow federal agencies to review the route and as the Nebraska courts decide if state law will allow the pipeline through the state.
The announcement came on Friday, April 18. Anderson, who spoke at the Glasgow City Council meeting on Monday, April 21, expressed his disappointment in the pushback of a decision again.
“I’m very disappointed and frustrated on the decision given out on Friday,” Anderson said. “It’s been six years to issue a permit.”
The first phase of the project, now completed, took 21 months for the permit to be approved. While no date of decision was given, it was implied that it would follow mid-term election season. Anderson said that this permit for the final project has taken more than 2,000 days and 21,000 pages of environmental impact studies that have implied that the pipeline would be the safest and best mode of transportation for the thousands of gallons of oil that would travel to the Gulf of Mexico.
The pipeline would come through just north of Glasgow and bring in many workers to the area. Anderson said that a workforce complex, owned by TransCanada would be moved into the Hinsdale and Fort Peck areas. These are two of seven work camps that would be placed along the way. The camps would sit on 85 to100 acres of land and reportedly would be pretty self-contained.
Glasgow Mayor Becky Erickson asked what types of services the workers might need and what direct impacts Glasgow might see. Anderson explained that the camps would have a guard shack around the fenced in camps, the workers would have their own cafeteria and medical personal on staff and available 24 hours a day. The camps will house between 900 and 1,000 workers.
Anderson said that all workers might not stay in the camps, some may stay in the hotels, but many of these employees would not be permanent and they would move with the pipeline as it was completed. The camps would be open between 12 and 18 months if the pipeline project is improved. The camps also will have their own portable water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Erickson said that the city may need to increase law enforcement with so many workers coming to the area. Anderson replied that TransCanada had already expressed and shown an interest in adding additional law enforcement at their expense if the need was shown. Anderson said that the workers would work six, 10-hour days and would have Sundays off, which would be the day the town could see an economic impact and more people in the city. Council-person Melanie Sorensen asked how employees would be disciplined if they found trouble.
He responded that the workers had drug testing, and a code of conduct was in place for all employees. As his discussion ended with the council, he added that he didn’t feel the decision to run the pipeline would be in their favor.
“With all the delays in decision, it’s hard to say the project will be approved,” Anderson said.
Anderson expressed that with several more months ahead before a decision is finally made, he felt that it was hard to remain optimistic in the approval. Pressure from Montana U.S. Senators John Walsh and Jon Tester were expressed shortly after the announcement on a decision being pushed back again. Both Walsh and Tester released statements in support of the project and the positive impact it would have on Montana’s economy. Gov. Steve Bullock also released a statement in response to the delay.
“I am very disappointed in today’s decision by the Obama Administration to once again unnecessarily delay construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline,” Bullock said. “This project will be a shot in the arm to our economy by creating much needed jobs, and will advance our domestic energy security. This has been pending for over five years. If we made decision on permits this way in Montana, our economy would grind to a halt.”