The Keystone pipeline, which connects the Alberta Tar Sands with refineries in Oklahoma and Illinois, is getting more controversial.
On the one hand, the pipeline is said to have brought jobs to parts of Oklahoma, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri. On the other hand, there are those who claim that the pipeline came with over-the-top sweetheart deals for TransCanada, the company that operates the pipeline.
A Vancouver Sun story quoted Dan Holub, a county commissioner in Marion County, saying that Kansas struck a raw deal with TransCanada by exempting the company from certain taxes over the next decade. "If we had that pipeline on the tax rolls this year, we could have cut our levy by 30 to 40 percent," Holub told the Sun.
There are also concerns that TransCanada had been using eminent domain too aggressively in its pipeline construction after a farmer in Clay Center, Kansas, refused to accept the company’s $15,000 offer to build through his farm.
Of course, there are two sides of every story. For one thing, TransCanada will be paying taxes to communities after their 10-year grace period is up. As for the eminent domain situation, that will be something that has to be decided in court, and will likely be handled by the Kansas Supreme Court.
No matter what side of the pipeline debate you're on, there is controversy surrounding the issue. This is bad news for TransCanada, which is has been on a media assault, trying to sell America on the benefits of extending its existing pipeline.
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would directly link the Alberta Tar Sands with TransCanada’s existing pipeline in Nebraska, and then extend the existing pipeline hundreds of miles to ports in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas. But with environmentalists and landowners along the length of these pipelines screaming foul, it sounds like TransCanada will have a big PR campaign on its hands.