Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Rural Electric Companies Hit Hard by Keystone XL Cancellation

For more than a decade, Jeff Birkeland had been waiting expectantly in the hope that the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline would finally materialize and bring with it a much-needed boost to his rural community. His dreams were dashed overnight. Birkeland is the CEO of West Central Electric Cooperative, which is located in Murdo, a small city in South Dakota with a population of less than 1,000. TransCanada, now known as TC Energy, the firm that commissioned the KXL pipeline, first approached his company back in 2008. In 2011, he signed a contract with TC Energy to build a transmission line and two substations that would serve power along the KXL route. West Central Electric was meant to start producing power for pump stations along the XL route as early as November 2011, before the pipeline was put on hold. In March 2019, then-President Donald Trump granted TC Energy a presidential permit to construct and operate the XL pipeline. Biden revoked that permit via executive order in one of his first moves as president. “It basically shut a lot of what we were doing down overnight,” Birkeland told The Epoch Times. “We’re out $90 million, that’s what that means to us.” Electric co-ops are private companies that deliver electricity to their customers, also known as members. Rural electric cooperatives serve 56 percent of the nation and account for about 12 percent of total electricity sales in the United States, according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. There are multiple co-ops in the area that range in size in terms of employees and areas they cover. West Central Electric has more than 3,671 members and covers more than 7,000 square miles, and Birkeland said the cancellation of the project hits small rural communities like Murdo especially hard. Birkeland fired off a number of figures highlighting the negative economic effects of the KXL cancellation, during an interview at his office. If they had been able to start work on the project in 2012, school districts in the area would have received $1.7 million in tax revenue, he said. South Dakota will also miss out on $4 million in state sales taxes. And if the entire pipeline was up and running, it was expected to generate more than $100 million in property tax revenue along the route. The pipeline would also contribute $3.4 billion to the GDP of the United States on an annual basis. His company now has $14 million worth of materials sitting idly in the warehouse. “Essentially, this tells me our rates are going up,” he said...MORE


dr john said...

override that dumb sob

dr john said...

legislature can override the executive order