Counties crossed by the Keystone 1 pipeline were expecting to see much higher return rates in property taxes. This calls into question the claims made by TransCanada about the tax revenues for counties and school districts crossed by the proposed Keystone XL.
When pitching the Keystone 1 pipeline, TransCanada told state and local lawmakers that they should expect $9 million in increased property taxes. Instead, during its first year online the company paid $2.9 million in all the counties combined, according to KELOLAND. Only 32 percent of what they promised. Some counties, such as Clark, saw only 25 percent of what TransCanada promised.
“In Harding County a bond was passed and a new school was built on the premise that TransCanada’s pipeline taxes would help pay for it,” said Bret Clanton, a DRA member and a landowner crossed by Keystone XL near Buffalo, SD. “Now it would appear that the county is going to receive less than a third of what TransCanada initially promised? Did we put the cart before the horse here?”
Paul Seamans, a DRA member and landowner crossed by the Keystone XL pipeline near Draper, SD said, “TransCanada has been able to obtain support from state and local officials by promising huge tax windfalls. When TransCanada first started holding local meetings they promised that South Dakota counties along the XL path would share $18.5 million in new taxes. They have since lowered the promised amount to $10.3 million. It now appears the actual figure will be much lower.
TransCanada will tell people what they want to hear and unfortunately Gov. Daugaard and some of our state and county officials seem perfectly willing to accept what they say at face value. The inflated promises of jobs and increased tax revenues seem to be more important than protecting South Dakota landowners from the bullying tactics of a foreign corporation.”
In Nebraska, during the special legislative session, TransCanada voluntarily offered to post a $100 million bond. Over the past three years Dakota Rural Action has fought for a much smaller $30 million cleanup fund that would be used for both Keystone pipelines, but each year it failed due in part to opposition by TransCanada. Governor Daugaard’s position on better protections has been inconsistent over the past three weeks.
“It doesn’t appear to me that TransCanada when pressured had any qualms about offering Nebraska a 100 million dollar bond,” said Bret Clanton. “What I don’t understand is Governor Daugaard’s flip flop on this issue. What are you trying to tell us Governor?”
“The governor’s office has already rolled over and let TransCanada push around South Dakota landowners, now Daugaard would rather play dead than support proper protections,” said Paul Seamans.
“The Keystone XL and Keystone 1 are a liability to South Dakota’s major revenue sources, agriculture and tourism, and our fresh water resources. These two pipelines have an extremely high risk of endangering all three. The price our future generations are going to pay for our previous and current state administrations’ actions, or lack thereof, are too high,” said John Harter, a DRA member and landowner being crossed by the Keystone XL line near Winner, SD. “South Dakotans need to get involved, it’s almost too late.”
The tax shortfall story was first reported from KELOLAND by Ben Dunsmoor titled “Oil Pipeline Not Paying Out.”