SD at center of energy war
WATERTOWN, S.D. -- South Dakota has become an energy battleground in recent years and there's no sign of it letting up any time soon. First, it was the fight over the proposed expansion by the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad. Then it was...
WATERTOWN, S.D. -- South Dakota has become an energy battleground in recent years and there's no sign of it letting up any time soon. First, it was the fight over the proposed expansion by the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad. Then it was over the proposed Big Stone II Power Plant. Now the focus turns to Canadian crude oil and the pipelines that will carry it to refineries for processing.
The first of two pipelines that would carry that oil now is under construction. TransCanada Corp. is building the Keystone pipeline, which will transport up to 590,000 barrels of oil per day from Hardisty, Alberta, through eastern South Dakota to Illinois and Oklahoma. A second pipeline -- the Keystone XL -- could pump up to 900,000 additional barrels daily through the western part of the state if approved by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
With construction already under way on one pipeline, it would seem a bit late to oppose the second. But that's what some environmental groups are doing.
As more environmentally friendly renewable energy sources provide more of the nation's energy needs, the reliance on oil and other fossil fuels will diminish. The fact is that for the foreseeable future projects such as the TransCanada pipelines are necessary to help meet the nation's growing demand.
The pipelines also could play a factor in whether the Texas-based Hyperion company decides to build an oil refinery near Elk Point in southeastern South Dakota. If it is built, it will be the first new refinery constructed in the United States in more than three decades.
Like it or not, fossil fuels are going to remain in our nation's energy future for a long time to come. We'll have to continue to rely on them even as we try to wean ourselves off them by shifting to more renewable sources. If we want to meet our nation's growing energy demand, what other options are available?