Why would South Dakotans want to let TransCanada run another tar sands pipeline through their backyard, when even a federal pipeline safety official says he wouldn't buy or build a house along the pipeline route?

The official, Bill Lowery, is responsible for community assistance and technical services for the southwest region of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

At a Public Safety Trust conference on Nov. 21, Lowery was asked, "Knowing what you know about the problems in the Keystone XL's construction, what would you do if your house was in its path?"

His answer:  "Here is what I did when I bought my house — I looked on all the maps, I looked for all the well holes. I found there is nothing around me but dry holes and no pipelines. And it's not because I'm afraid of pipelines, it's not because I think something will happen. It's because something could happen. ... You're always better off, if you have a choice...."

He trailed off before finishing his sentence, but added that, "If I was building a house, I wouldn't build it on a refinery, ... I wouldn't build it on a pipeline, because they're all industrial facilities. That's just the reality" [Julie Dermansky, "'Just the Reality:' Pipeline Safety Official Admits He’d Avoid Buying A Home Near Pipelines Like Keystone XL," DeSmog Blog, 2013.12.03].

Come on, Bill! Why worry? I'm sure all those dents and patches on the Keystone XL are just signs of TransCanada's master craftsmanship.

TransCanada plans to open the spigot on the southern leg of Keystone XL on January 3. No word on housing prices along that route in Oklahoma and Texas... but the mere announcement that Keystone XL South is ready to go is causing oil prices to rise:

“With the pipeline up and running, you are going to see drops in Cushing inventories,” saidMichael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. “It drives up WTI prices far more than Brent. You are going to see a narrowing of the Brent-WTI differential” [Moming Zhou and Mark Shenk, "Oil Surges on Planned Start of Keystone Pipeline," Bloomberg via SFGate, 2013.12.03].

That oil price hike is a shocker if you've been trusting Rep. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune, but that's no surprise if you read the Madville Times.