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Pressler Wants Pipelines, Forming Indy Foundation, Asking Gently for Cash

Thought you wouldn't have Larry Pressler to kick around any more? Think again.

Yesterday, Pressler released remarks he prepared for a speech he's making today to the Farmers Union Foundation in Aberdeen. The former Senator continues to press his "Pressler Pipeline Plan" to reroute Keystone XL through North Dakota to carry Bakken crude to Midwest refineries instead of piping tar sands oil down to the Gulf and away to China.

There is a great need to build one or two new pipelines across North Dakota, and the right-of-way for them already exists. The Midwestern refineries in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois are currently under capacity, and diesel fuel would be about $1 cheaper than having it refined in Louisiana.

It is more environmentally friendly to move crude oil and distillates by pipeline and we need to free up our railroad equipment to haul more grain. South Dakota farmers need rail access to get their grain to market, and having two pipelines in North Dakota to carry oil will relieve railroad congestion [Larry Pressler, press release, 2014.11.20].

I still prefer preaching conservation (we should less oil and less of the corn syrup to which most of that surplus ag freight is destined), but Pressler's economic details are better than anything our deluding Big-Oil-mouthpiece delegation will offer.

Larry Pressler, still on the hunt...
Larry Pressler, still on the hunt...

Getting into the swing, Pressler fires off another press release today, this one with three little ticklers. Humboldt's most famous John Deere jockey says he plans to "will work for centrist, independent, moderate thinking in politics." He says contributions to the foundation will be tax-deductible, which I assume means he plans to form a 501(c)3, which can register voters, encourage voting, maybe even form a think tank and host events featuring like minded Indies and centrists but cannot contribute to candidates.

O happy Independence and not having to check with Party Central to make sure he won't hurt anyone's feelings by forming his group! Two recommendations, Mr. Pressler:

  1. The Pressler Foundation should host a series of Lincoln-Douglas-style debates between prominent political figures on significant South Dakota political issues. Formulate clear resolutions, require speakers to stay on topic and focus on policy, and have you and other centrists serve as strict moderators and judges at the events. (First speakers: Stace Nelson vs. me!)
  2. Use these events and other fundraising to raise money to support and expand speech activities in South Dakota. Nothing promotes independent, rigorous, policy-oriented thinking better in our fair state than high school debate and Student Congress.

Along with promoting independent thinking, Pressler suggests we could also use some ballot education:

Several people told me they mistakenly double voted, as they innocently believed they could vote for two, and of course that invalidated their vote. There is a lot of misunderstanding about independent candidacies [Larry Pressler, Facebook message, 2014.11.21].

Clip from South Dakota general election sample ballot, 2014
Clip from South Dakota general election sample ballot, 2014

Several people? What? O.K., nothing personal folks, but we're voting for Senator. Yes, we have two Senators, but, as the ballot says, underlined, in bold, we only get to vote for one at a time. It doesn't matter how many guys are running for that one spot; you still only get to pick one... at least until the Pressler Foundation successfully passes an initiative to allow instant run-off/ranked-choice voting. (But oh my; if we can't mark bubbles correctly, can we handle marking our top picks 1, 2, 3?)

But before he launches a foundation or agitates for ballot education reform, Pressler's has to pay the bills:

Meanwhile, I have a more immediate task. Our campaign raised only a total of about $200,000, largely from individual contributions such as yours. I know you have contributed, and I have asked, and some of you have contributed again, and while I do feel a bit audacious and embarrassed (but not apologetic), I do have a $250,000 deficit. I will probably pay it myself, but if you have not reached the $2,600 limit, I would ask that you consider contributing more [Pressler, 2014.11.21].

According to the FEC, Pressler reported being $355K in the hole on October 15, so he's made $105K worth of progress. But we should all appreciate the softest sell in any campaign finance pitch this year: I'll probably pay it myself, but if you want to help, that's o.k.

If Pressler is willing to drop that much of his own cash to close out his campaign, it will be interesting to see how much of his own cash and time he'll be willing to dedicate to promoting further political discussion along the centrist lines he desires.


  1. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    I think maybe all the nice Democrats who voted for Pressler instead of Weiland should pony up and help poor ol' Larry pay off his bills.

  2. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.11.21

    I would pay money to see a debate between you and Pat Powers. He's not a good person to represent conservative Republican views, but everyone can appreciate a petty cyber bully getting drug out into the light of day.

  3. mike from iowa 2014.11.21

    People who mistakenly voted for two Sinators are prolly the victims of wingnut robocalls that say it is okay to vote after Nov. 4th or that the election is Wed the 5th of November.

  4. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.11.21

    Why is it so difficult for people like Pressler to realized WE DON'T OWN TRANSCANADA.

    You know. That pesky CANADIAN corporation who actually does own Keystone XL.

    Or do they know something I don't?

  5. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.11.21

    Pressler also asked for more money from regular people than the Weiland campaign did. Just saying.

  6. Paul Seamans 2014.11.21

    One big question about pipelines through the Bakken is, will the producers use them if they are built. The ONEOK pipeline through eastern Wyoming that was to carry Bakken crude was scrapped due to lack of interest from producers.

  7. larry kurtz 2014.11.21

    Good goddess, Cory: hard to imagine you writing this post without your tongue jammed right up your cheek. Pressler doesn't give one turd about South Dakota except to see his name embossed into Dick Wadhams' Koch sniffing tray.

  8. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    Just looking quickly at the vote totals, I don't see any significant undervote on the Senate race compared to the other statewide races. If there were ballots spoiled by voting twice for that one office, was the whole ballot thrown out, or were just the votes for that one office not counted.

    I do notice that the total voter turnout is conspicuously lower on both Todd (45.81%) and Shannon (34.72%) counties that in the other counties (54,18% average all counties) in the state, and have been curious about that since election day. I had heard that the GOTV effort in those counties was strong and voter turnout also strong, but the numbers on the SOS site sure don't show it. Does anybody know anything about that?

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.21

    Sorry, Disgusted: I don't think a debate between me and Powers would be educational. I'd prefer to pick on someone my own size... like Stace Nelson.

  10. Greg 2014.11.21

    The ballot read Vote for one or leave it blank. If you voted for Rounds you should have left it blank. Rounds wins by default just like Political Barbie did in the House race.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.21

    Bill, perhaps Democrats should offer to pay Pressler's bill... if he can provide them with that list of Dems who voted for him and a promise to get them all to vote for Brendan in 2016?

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.21

    Bill, I do find the claim that "several" people have mentioned this curious. I've never heard of such confusion arising because of the presence of an Independent on the ballot. Can we get some Independent confirmation?

  13. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    Maybe if Mr. Pressler could tell us roughly which districts or counties these "several people" were from, Cory, we could check with their county auditors. It would indeed be interesting to know how many votes were thrown out, in which districts, and why.

    And also, you know, maybe a little something that RV absentee thingy. Especially in district 33. Like, do they own any land in that district, what date(s) did all the absentee ballot requests come in. Did any big batches all come in on the same day. Was the handwriting different on every application... stuff like that. ;-)

  14. Joan Brown 2014.11.21

    I wonder how many of the people that are in favor of this pipeline will have it running through their land and water supply. I don't have have any land anyplace in the country and I'm against it.

  15. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    The counties want the property tax. And the utilities want to sell them power and water. Big new corporate customer in counties that haven't seen that kind of business opportunity since everybody bought their first refrigerators and toasters out on the farm. LOL The really interesting issue here is how the Lakota intend to protect their land rights from the Treaty of Laramie. There hasn't really been quite the same opportunity before. But when it comes to the US Government selling what they consider their land under dispute to Canada, they see it as an act of war. And they could be right. Interesting case.

  16. grudznick 2014.11.21

    I know it is contrary to what everybody believes but this is why voting is the simplest intelligence test of all. If you can read the instructions, you fail. BAH!

  17. Bill Fleming 2014.11.21

    Grudznick, you have said more than you know...

  18. grudznick 2014.11.21

    Can't I?

  19. grudznick 2014.11.21

    Along those same lines, Bill, are you aware of the big meeting tomorrow morning that will set the direction for much of what you ponder?

  20. Les 2014.11.21

    ""If you can read the instructions, you fail. BAH!"". You're one of the sharper cookie cutters in the drawer, Grudz!

  21. grudznick 2014.11.21

    Indeed, Mr. Les. Indeed I am. For a fellow of my ilk at least.

  22. grudznick 2014.11.21

    In fact, let me be on record that I condone the random shooting of dogs that I hear is going on.

  23. JeniW 2014.11.21

    There will come a day when pumping oil through the pipeline will be more expensive than what it is worth.

    Who then will clean up the mess, and repair the environmental damage?

  24. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.21

    Minnesotans are throwing up all the roadblocks possible to additional pipelines through this state. Nobody wants them because most people know that every pipeline leaks eventually. That's because the owners cheat on every bit of maintenance they can. Pipelines deserve their lousy environmental image.

    While I don't like seeing all the oil trains running through the MN metro, rail transport could be a real, long term jobs booster. More tracks, more cars, more locomotives, more track maintenance workers, etc. When an oil train derails, a relatively small amount of oil is spilled. Pipelines leak millions of gallons per leak. Gimme trains with much stronger cars, slower speeds through populated areas, and other safeguards.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.22

    Deb, I'm all for more trains. But let's pull a switcheroo: instead of letting Big Oil commandeer all the rail capacity, let's build some high-speed electric rail, get people to take the train instead of cars and airplanes, and reduce our oil consumption even further!

  26. Jana 2014.11.22

    For your Saturday afternoon enjoyment, here's Jon Stewart's brutal honesty about the KXL pipeline. Bringing humor and biting sarcasm to expose the blatant hypocrisy of Kristi, John and Mike...

    Eminent Domain:

    Feckless politics, KXL jobs, john Thune and chisling Mt. Rushmore:

    Bonus quote: "The pipeline is either a 1200 mile long, job creating slip and slide made of rainbows and children's dreams - or - the Mississippi River sized poison laden urethra of Satan himself."

    God I wish Stewart was taking over Meet the Press.

  27. bearcreekbat 2014.11.22

    Bill echos the ads that "The counties want the property tax." And I have heard the ads with the same argument.

    My question is: Isn't anyone paying property tax right now on the land proposed for the pipeline? If not, why not? If so, then will the tax be increased due to the pipeline, and if so what is the law that allows a taxing authority to increase the tax if the pipeline goes through?

  28. Les 2014.11.22

    It is a tax on the pipe not the land. Wouldn't it be great for our state if we got a cent per barrel for all thse pipes.

  29. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.22

    I said, "More tracks, more cars, more locomotives, more track maintenance workers, etc."

    Then Cory, you said, "letting Big Oil commandeer all the rail capacity."

    Nope. More trains and cars would obviate anyone commandeering all the trains. That was an important part of my point that I may not have made very clearly.

    Rather than either oil or grain, let's increase capacity and have both. Rail is more energy efficient than truck, so let's create more trains and have environmental and economic benefits.

    Meanwhile, the overall goal of all renewable energy remains.

  30. Les 2014.11.22

    That is one thing to love about our socialist friends in Europe. 180mph trains. Though, not so much in the Czech repub. Pipes won't haul coal, grain, cattle or people. Trains will always be some part of our future.

  31. Paul Seamans 2014.11.22

    bearcreekbat; The landowner that signed an easement for the KXL still pays property tax on that easement. The pipeline is centrally assessed by the state and is based on the value of the pipeline (which will be depreciated every year), the value of the oil that is shipped through it, and the value of the company that owns the pipeline. As Keystone LLC is the owner of the KXL and is a subsidiary of TransCanada it basically doesn't have much of a value. TransCanada is promising tax revenue of $20 million a year to counties along the route, how they came up with that figure is a mystery to me, I've never seen their methodology. Counties along Keystone 1 have been receiving about a third of the tax revenues that TransCanada had promised them.

  32. Paul Seamans 2014.11.22

    Les, Dakota Rural Action lobbied for about five years in the SD legislature to have TransCanada pay 2 cents per barrel into a spill fund up to a maximum of $30 million. We were shot down every year. Legislators thought that would interfere with interstate commerce. Another excuse was that there were already federal spill funds that addressed such spills. TransCanada's lobbyists were always there working against us. Evidently, for some reason, they always seemed to have more pull than we did.

  33. Les 2014.11.22

    Just like the lobbyists from Power Tech who carry those powers, Paul, even though legislators admitted they'd been lied to by those same lobbyists.
    Yes, I've been blabbing that story on the spill fund so long I've developed it into a Rounds veto which I don't think he needed if he didn't want it on his desk. Same story with DD.

  34. jerry 2014.11.22

    I think what ranchers and farmers need to understand is that the water that is being used to sustain ranches and farms, basically comes from the mountain snow packs at the headwaters of the great river basins. As this development of more dirty energy is put upon us all, the climate change will continue its march, only now, more accelerated. What is needed is a more small farming operations to conserve what water we have. A ten acre farming operation can produce an abundance of crops right here in South Dakota. If you put any kind of high tunnel operation together, you can even produce more in that 10 acres than you could with several hundred acres of open farmland. Pressler is missing the point of what more pipelines really mean, they mean more carbon emission into the atmosphere further accelerating climate change. Now think of leaks to disrupt the underground sources of our water. More is not better.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.23

    Paul, there's another example of how our Republican Legislature loves using federal power and money to get themselves off the hook.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.23

    Point taken, Deb. More rail (and rail jobs! Stimulus!) would make it harder for Big Oil to hog all the shipping capacity. But I'd be happy to see a larger, better used rail network reduce our need for oil.

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