Have you ever been to a White Elephant party? Where there are lots of beautifully wrapped packages, but the gifts are all stinkers?
That's what the Keystone XL Pipeline is for Montana and for our country: a bad deal wrapped in pretty packaging. You probably have your own reasons for opposing Keystone XL, but here's my top 10 as a Montana rancher who wants to be the next U.S. Senator from Montana.
Find out more about my campaign here, if you're curious. I'm running for the open seat to replace Max Baucus, and I'm the ONLY candidate - Democrat or Republican - that's daring to come out against this boondoggle.
10. TransCanada is a bad neighbor; they don’t respect our property rights or our land. Ranchers and local officials in Eastern Montana report damaging practices by TransCanada, including driving big trucks over pastures without permission, hiding behind other companies to avoid responsibility, aggressively using threats of eminent domain seizures to pressure landowners to sell. It got bad in enough in Nebraska that even their good buddy Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Tar Sands/NE, had to beg TransCanada to stop.
9. The steel for Keystone XL has already been made, much of it in Canada, India, and Italy. No new jobs for Montanans there!
8. Eastern Montana communities impacted by the Bakken development are unhappy with the infrastructure impact of development, noting that while a few people may get rich, the rest of the community has had to deal with housing shortages, school overcrowding, roads, gas stations, sewers, medical and fire services that have not been able to keep up with the growth. Everywhere in Montana, I meet the same concerns. If we can't even take care of our people who are dealing with the impacts of energy development now, what in the world makes us think we can handle a pipeline in the right way for Montanans?
6. Keystone XL carries permanent risk to our planet. Climate change affects all of us and would be truly disastrous if it comes to pass. Developing the Alberta Tar Sands will result in a sharp increase in greenhouse gas emissions that the world can’t afford.
5. Speaking of jobs, jobs, jobs, TransCanada has been doing “fuzzy math” about the number of jobs it will create, counting each year as one job, and including jobs like ballet dancers and speech therapists in the potential job count. When TransCanada does hire, they have a history of skipping local workers and bringing in their own people: only 3 South Dakotan welders and pipefitters worked on the pipeline in South Dakota. The more you look, the more it's clear that the only permanent jobs Montana would see from this pipeline would be for cleanup crews on the Yellowstone River.
4. Keystone XL will drive up gas prices for consumers in Montana.
3. Even Continental Resources doesn't think Keystone XL is necessary. They are an oil company that had previously committed to shipping crude through the pipeline.
2. Keystone XL permanent risk to our land. It’s not a matter of if it’ll spill, but when. Keystone I, sprung 12 leaks in its first year of operation, spewing over 20,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota and Kansas,and demonstrating that safety regulations for tar sands pipelines are completely inadequate. Montana can’t risk repeatedly dumping heavy crude all over our land, livelihood and legacy.
1. We can do better. Let’s invest in projects that create permanent jobs and help Montanans live in a better world.
There are 10 reasons why I'm against Keystone XL, but one big reason I'm the only Montana US Senate candidate standing up against the pipeline. There's a lot of pressure on politicians to smile when they get their white elephant presents, and not look too closely at what's inside. Politicians are pushing the pipeline with one hand, but with the other hand refusing to support the communities who are already affected by energy development. Montanans have had enough. The rest of the country has as well.