State needs oil-spill fund
by Jason Frerichs
As a farmer, I know how important it is to protect the land, the air we breathe and South Dakota’s clean water. Last year, I worked on bipartisan legislation in the state Legislature to set up an oil-spill fund so South Dakota would not be stuck paying for an oil spill from TransCanada’s Keystone tar sands pipeline.
Lobbyists for TransCanada helped to defeat the measure. But the recent 28,000-gallon oil spill in North Dakota from the Keystone pipeline reminds us of the risks we face from tar sands pipelines.
Spills such as these are why many South Dakota landowners opposed the pipeline and were forced to accept it under eminent domain. This is the 10th leak from the pipeline, and it has not even been operating for a year.
Tar sands pipelines leak more often than pipelines that carry regular crude oil because the product is dirtier and more corrosive. Now TransCanada wants the U.S. State Department to approve another pipeline through South Dakota – this one West River.
South Dakota needs better protections for the pipeline that already is in operation in the state. If another pipeline is going to be built, stronger safety standards and an oil-spill fund need to be implemented first.