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Monday, February 22, 2010

SB 161: Pipeline Tax Passes Committee!

Holy cow! It must be Cory-Happy Day in Pierre!

The South Dakota Legislature took a step toward getting TransCanada to put some money in the kitty for the privilege of running its big pipelines across our farm fields and wetlands. SB 161, a two-cent pipeline tax to create a $30M environmental cleanup fund, got a 7–1 Do Pass from the Senate State Affairs Committee today.

The only naysayer on the committee, the only member who seems to think TransCanada and other Big Oil shippers shouldn't be held accountable for their mishaps, was Madison's very own Republican senator Russell Olson.

Two cents a barrel: as I've noted previously, that's a tax of about three cents on every hundred dollars TransCanada can sell oil for. Of course, TransCanada execs are already griping and moaning about an even lower tax Nebraska is considering.

Some South Dakota officials are still "negotiating" with TransCanada to get them to fix the roads they wrecked last summer while constructing the Keystone I pipeline. Do we really want to have to go through similar "negotiations" to get them to clean up their oil when their pipe leaks?

The full Senate gets next swing at this bill. Senators, straighten Russ out, and then vote yes for charging TransCanada a fair price for the privilege of using our precious land.

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