TransCanada spill in SD troubling

“Nothing to see here folks, move it along.” This seems to be the motto for TransCanada, the company that caused the pipeline spill last week near Amherst in northeastern South Dakota. At least 210,000 gallons spilled on prairie and agricultural land in that area. The company has been quick to say it will clean it up, but numerous questions remain. Meanwhile, residents have been told not to breathe the air. KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls interviewed a resident in the area who basically said he is not surprised since in its rush to finish the pipeline, TransCanada used questionable and shoddy materials and methods. TransCanada labeled South Dakota land as “low consequence” and was therefore allowed to use thin pipe.

Why was this allowed to happen? Spilled oil emits benzene, a proven carcinogen. Why are South Dakota residents being exposed to this? The state gave TransCanada, a company with $64 billion in assets, a $14 million tax rebate. Why?

These questions and many more are important. But the most troubling question is why does the U.S. continue to increase its commitment to greenhouse gas-producing oil production when alternatives like wind and solar are clean, safe, and economically viable.

Carol Hayse

Nemo

GOP tax plan is not about reform

Sen. Thune (Nov. 17 op-ed) seems to confuse tax reform with tax cuts. The current bills have little to do with "reform" and everything to do with "cuts." He also implies that Americans are among the highest taxed in the world. Current OECD rankings place the U.S. well below the middle (as a percentage of GDP — and we get so little for it).

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The current plan is simply another "do over" of the failed "trickle-down" theory that the Republican Party can't seem to see hasn't worked since it started under Saint Ronald (even the man who proposed it under Reagan, David Stockman, acknowledges that it is fraudulent). Corporations will simply buy back their stock, pay down debt and reward the shareholders and corporate officers as Gary “why aren’t there more hands raised” Cohen found out recently. They have never let the savings realized pass down to the workers who generate the profits and buy the products. Does this make any sense?

Mr. Thune also casts some subtle disrespect at the opposition by referring to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat" Party. The Journal shouldn't countenance such behavior (if not, limit this senator to 200 words like the rest of us).

Brent Cogswell

Rapid City

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