Yesterday The Epoch Times posted an article about one of the unintended consequences of canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline. The cancellation is evidently having a large negative impact on at least one rural electric company.
The article reports:
MURDO, S.D.—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.
The article concludes:
Keeping electricity rates down is key for co-ops, since these companies serve “92 percent of persistent-poverty counties in America,” according to the association. The opportunity that the pipeline would have provided would have been a “key pillar” to reducing the company’s electricity rates, Birkeland said.
“The larger revenue base you have, you get to spread your expenses out,” he said. “That’s just simple economics. It makes your rates lower. When the administration talks about wanting to create new jobs—here it is.”
There are also countless other local businesses in Murdo, as well as in nearby towns and cities, that had spent money to juice up their businesses in response to the construction of the KXL pipeline. Now, their money and their investments have gone down the drain, Birkeland said.
Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is not fair to American businesses that a new administration can come into power in Washington and simply shut down an ongoing construction project, particularly by Executive Order. I hope that some of the court cases against this Executive Order are successful.