Promises fall short, Keystone XL pipeline’s foes say
Keystone projections don’t match revenue reality for counties
Cody Winchester, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
11:51 PM, Nov. 19, 2011
When TransCanada was pushing to build an oil pipeline in eastern South Dakota back in 2007, the company’s marketing strategy included newspaper ads that promised counties along the route more than $9 million in tax revenue.
But four years later, in the pipeline’s first year of operation, tax records show that the 10 counties crossed by the Keystone oil pipeline received just one-third of this amount.
(F)or fiscal 2010 taxes collected this year, the company paid only $2.95 million to counties and school districts, according to figures provided by county auditors and treasurers. This does not count tax revenue TransCanada paid directly to the state, some of which was refunded under an incentive program for large projects.
A look at what TransCanada promised selected counties in estimated annual tax payments and the actual tax payment in fiscal 2010:
- Marshall County: $937,804.50 promised; $286,280.98 actually paid;
- Clark County: $1,369,565,98 promised; $359,646.04 paid;
- Miner County: $1,140,855.42 promised; $391,047.39 paid;
- Hutchinson County: $1,140, 264.64 promised; $424,504.72 paid.
- Yankton County: $837,988.68 promised; $247,965.58 paid.
“That was the big sell on this, the amount that would come to our local governments,” said state Senate Minority Leader Jason Frerichs, a Democrat from Wilmot. He called the discrepancy “further evidence that there are many unanswered questions about the pipeline.”
Frerichs, meanwhile, has broader concerns: “If we couldn’t take their word for the property taxes … how do we know for sure they’re going to be there for the cleanup?”
So we lied. Tough Shit.
Blaise Emerson, executive director of Black Hills Community Economic Development, has tesified in favor of Keystone XL at state and federal hearings. He said the relatively lower tax receipts from Keystone in the east does not trouble him, because taxes are only one reason to support Keystone XL.
“How I look at it, and hopefully the way most people look at it: Don’t cry over the fact that you didn’t get quite as much as you wanted,” he said. “Maybe the estimate was a little bit high, but you wouldn’t have that revenue at all if it wasn’t coming through.”
You can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up… you trusted us!