And in other crazily connecting Keystone XL news, Bob Mercer suggests we could see President Obama's latest delay on approving TransCanada's tar sands oil pipeline open the door to an oil-train deal that could enrich Mike Rounds's friends.
On very Good Friday, President Obama said he cannot approve Keystone XL until the Nebraska Supreme Court has had a chance to sort out legal questions over legislation establishing the pipeline's route through that state.
If Nebraska is the monkey in the wrench, TransCanada might want to go around Nebraska. That detour could happen, logically, in South Dakota. Bob Mercer says that detour could involve a South Dakota rail line that friends of oil-friendly Mike Rounds are lobbying to rebuild:
TransCanada’s proposed route through South Dakota would cross the old Mitchell – Rapid City railroad right of way that is owned by the state of South Dakota. The rail line is already rebuilt from Mitchell to Chamberlain. The Legislature this year approved $7.2 million to help pay for rehabilitation of the rail line’s bridge over the Missouri River between Chamberlain and Oacoma — this $1.2 million piece was at the request of Gov. Dennis Daugaard — and to help rebuild the line west to the vanished community of Lyman, where Wheat Growers wants to put a fertilizer distribution and grain shipping complex. That second piece with an appropriation of $6 million came at the request of Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell.
And for what it’s worth, the public-affairs trio whose firm is running the U.S. Senate campaign of former Gov. Mike Rounds — the former governor’s former chief of staff Rob Skjonsberg, former senior aide Jason Glodt and former state Sen. Bob Gray — also are involved in the effort to put together the money to get the line west to Lyman. It all might be a coincidence, but it’s also worth noting that the former governor’s father, Don Rounds, was a long-time lobbyist for the petroleum industry [Bob Mercer, "Will Oil Trains Be Next for South Dakota?" Pure Pierre Politics, 2014.04.19].
I think re-establishing a cross-state railroad is a fine idea... if only we could include a commuter line so I could ride the rails from Sioux Falls to Spearfish and blog all the way while Casey Jones does the driving. But keep an eye out: one way or another, friends of Mike appear determined to cash in on Keystone XL.