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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tribes Sue to Stop Keystone Pipeline

Forget the cavalry—maybe the Indians can save us! I was pleased to read this week that the Sisseton-Wahpeton, Rosebud, Santee, and Yankton Sioux peoples are suing the U.S. State Department to stop further work on TransCanada's Keystone pipeline in North and South Dakota. Treaty violations! say our fellow prairie dwellers. The current suit appears to only cover Keystone I here in eastern Dakota Territory, although maybe the tribes will have a similar argument if the State Department approves Keystone II across West River.

The rain spirits haven't been smiling on the project; perhaps we'll luck out and have a judge or two take the same position.


  1. Why don't the citizens of this state, Indians and others, get together and demand that TransCanada pay a sizable royalty for the privilege of using our land? Maybe it can be so much per resident per cubic meter of fuel transmitted. With the help of our next President (who has expressed sympathy for our Indian brothers and sisters), something like this might happen for all the affected states.

  2. Stan, citizens do try and band together to force good payment for using their land, but it would be more effective and assured to build landowner protections in at the state level. Montana, for instance, has state siting law that requires more environmental review on the Keystone XL pipeline (aka Keystone II) than in other states. Environmental review doesn't mean just bunnies and trees--it also includes socioeconomic impacts, impacts to farmers, etc.

    As a result of uneven state laws, we've got a weird situation where the maps required for the Montana state review show alternate routes for Keystone XL heading into North Dakota and eastern South Dakota, but people in North Dakota and eastern South Dakota don't know this because those routes are not shown on the maps on the TransCanada website.


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