The manager of Ted Turner’s 141,000-acre buffalo ranch in central South Dakota said he shares his boss’s worries about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and its potential impacts on the ranch and nation.
Turner, who periodically visits the sprawling ranch bisected by the Bad River southwest of Pierre, concluded in a CNN commentary Wednesday that the proposed pipeline should not be approved. He said the pipeline would cross the Bad River 15 miles upstream from his ranch, a worrisome reality that caused him to begin examining the project overall.
Tom LeFaive, who oversees the ranch known for its buffalo herd and diverse mix of native wildlife, said the route of the proposed crude-oil pipeline comes close enough to the ranch upstream on the Bad River to be a direct worry.
“It comes within a few miles, where it crosses the Bad River and heads south to Murdo,” LeFaive said. “The Bad River runs through the middle of our property. I think everybody would be concerned about any type of oil line or anything that could have a detrimental effect.”
But LeFaive said his concerns about the pipeline go beyond the boundaries of the ranch and the possibility of local oil spills. Important questions also need to be answered about the benefits of the pipeline to South Dakota and the United States versus the project’s potential harm, he said.
“There can be lots of benefits to jobs, and that type of thing,” LeFaive said. “But what is the real purpose? Is it to benefit the United States or is it to get the fuel to the coast so it can go overseas?”
In his CNN commentary, Turner raised those and other questions about the pipeline before concluding that it should not be approved. He said the nation should be promoting cleaner, renewable energy sources rather than a polluting form of energy that is damaging to the environment to extract and difficult to transport.
“He has his concerns,” LeFaive said of Turner’s commentary. “Many people have concerns about this. I just want people to know the truth, so they can decide based on the facts.”
LeFaive said if the pipeline were approved, there should be a guarantee that a certain percentage of the Canadian crude oil transported in the pipeline be used in the United States.
“If it’s going to cross the United States you would think somebody could put in the contracts that a certain percentage of the oil should go to the United States,” he said. “You’ve got to look at the benefits and what the adverse effects would be.”
Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or firstname.lastname@example.org