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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keystone XL Avoids Indian Territory

Nick Nemec notices something interesting about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route: TransCanada's next big pipeline quite neatly threads the needle and avoid crossing a single Indian reservation anywhere across the Great Plains. The pipeline just barely misses three reservations—Fort Peck in Montana, Cheyenne River here in South Dakota, and the Osage in Oklahoma. Keystone XL even manages to angle east from Alberta just in time to go around the one Saskatchewan reserve in the neighborhood, Maple Creek.

Check the maps for yourself: they're big megabyte-sized PDFs and JPGs, but they're worth a look. (Note the Alberta/Saskatchewan JPG is currently broken, so you'll have to use the PDF there—maybe it's a metric thing? ;-) ). Here are smaller versions of the most interesting maps; reservations are marked in red, while the pipeline is the purple line (blue in Canada... metric system converts colors, too?):

That's a pretty neat trick to draw a line from Hardisty, Alberta to Houston and the Gulf of Mexico without crossing any sovereign native lands.

TransCanada will use Indian steel, but Keystone XL won't cross Indian turf. Some days it's good to be Native. Dang: maybe if we restored the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie and the Great Sioux Reservation, we could keep Keystone XL out of South Dakota entirely!


  1. Cory,

    The reason is that TransCanda could loose its pipeline because the reservations have their own sovereignity and can take it over. That is why you don't see economic development on reservations.

  2. Kelly Fuller11/12/2009 4:13 PM

    The tribes have the ability to keep the pipeline off their reservations if they don't want it there. It's understandable that they wouldn't want it after what happened with Keystone I. There were very serious problems with the cultural resource surveying and the State Department's treatment of tribes during the permitting process.

    As far as Mr. Sibson's suggestion, if a tribe wanted to take a pipeline, they still would have to pay for it. Even if a tribe wanted to do that, the value would be so great, it would be unlikely they could do it.


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