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Rounds talks EPA, Keystone

BATH — Mike Rounds doesn’t think certain factions in Washington, D.C., understand the Midwest, and South Dakota’s former governor said he’s ready to help change that in the U.S. Senate.

Making his comments during a Friday afternoon campaign stop at Northern Electric Cooperative in Bath, Rounds talked about the stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline project, the future of corn production, entitlements and a proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency that he said would potentially hurt the state’s farmers and ranchers.

On the EPA, Rounds said the agency is “not sensitive to what we care about in the Midwest” and added that the federal arm is part of a long-term problem overreaching government regulation facing the nation.

“The EPA wants to redefine which waters the EPA has water quality control responsibilities for,” Rounds said. “In the past, we’ve always kept them out of the farmyards and stock tanks and the courts have reinforced what we’ve said. Now, since they’re not winning in the courts, they’re trying to change the rules. They want to be able to look at water quality if you get a wet year and there’s any overflow of a stock damn or a farm pond. They believe they should have jurisdiction over that water and you’d have to come see them about a permit.”

Speaking to a crowd of about 40, Rounds’ stop in Bath preceded a visit to the Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center and the Brown County Republican campaign office in Aberdeen. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., was scheduled to accompany Rounds Friday, but came down with an illness and could not attend, according to the Rounds campaign.

Even without Hoeven, a vocal Keystone XL proponent, Rounds wasted little time getting into the pipeline issue.

Related: 43 groups to intervene in SD Keystone re-approval

“I have a real interest in seeing this pipeline built,” Rounds said. “I think the folks around here should be interested in it for what it would do to get oil off of the rail lines and the economic interests involved in that. BNSF tells us that about 10 unit trains per week would be transferred off the trains, which would be about 10 percent of the unit trains coming out of North Dakota with oil. Back here, you’ve seen the corn piled up, and we’ve seen the beans bagged up. Taking care of some of that congestion would helps our producers and help every small town.”

One of Rounds’ opponents, Democrat Rick Weiland, is opposed to the pipeline and thinks the potential environmental dangers outweigh any benefits. He’s said the number of jobs Keystone XL will create is minimal and that the pipeline will ultimately be used to help transfer Canadian oil to China.

Independents Larry Pressler and Gordon Howie are also on the ballot Tuesday.

After touching on the pipeline and the EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, which will be in a formal comment period until Nov. 14, Rounds said that he still thinks ethanol has a future as a sought-after commodity.

“I think ethanol has a bright future,” Rounds said. “But I think the future for ethanol is as an oxygenate because it’s the least expensive oxygenate, which is an octane booster, that we’ve got. We still need a couple years to get the ethanol industry going. With mileage standards set to go up, they’re going to have to make engines that have higher octane fuel, and that’s where ethanol comes in.”

Rounds also fielded a few questions, including one on entitlements.

“When you drive up and down the road in (Aberdeen), you see all the signs — everybody is looking for help,” said FEM Electric Association general manager Scott Moore. “I guarantee you that there are enough people in this town to fill those jobs, but people don’t work because of the entitlements. I know some of these people. They just say ‘why work?'”

While saying that a safety net is “needed for the very young and very old,” Rounds agreed that entitlement programs need to be altered.

“The feds limit a lot of that themselves,” Rounds said. “They tell us what we can do and can’t do on a lot of that. There is a frustration that is out there, but most of those improvements would need to come at the federal level, not the state level. Like any federal program, those entitlement programs should be reviewed.”


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  1. What did Rounds have to say about these two pipelines?

    November 30, 2012 – Oneok cancels plans to build the “Bakken Crude Express” pipeline after a lack of long-term volume commitments by Bakken oil companies.

    January 21, 2014 – The “Dakota Express” pipeline, proposed in June 2013 by Koch Pipeline, is canceled due to lack of Bakken oil company commitments.

  2. The Farmers have saved & payed the RR a TON of $$$$$,they kept the RR Busy all them Years.So now I think you should show them some Compassion,& Ship the Crops.

  3. There are alot of trucks around that could use the work hauling that grain

  4. Guess hauling grain by truck is more costly. The trains have always been an ass to the farmers though. Before oil it was coal.

  5. Way to go rounds !!! That’s why I voted for you!

  6. Keystone pipeline would help.

  7. Let the corn and other grains that are piled up on the ground spoil

  8. You guys are fools if you believe any significant amount of bakken oil is going to be shipped on keystone. They are going to ship their tar oil first. It will be decades before bakken oil is shipped on this pipeline

    • Please show me some data that backs this up.
      From where I am sitting, it’s clear to see that Bakker oil has higher profit margins and therefore would take a front seat to the thick/low BTU oils from the Canadian tar sands.

    • in the late 1980’s transcanada built the Northern Border pipeline. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s before the amount of american gas was over 5% of their shipped volume. Even today its less than 50% of american gas in that pipeline. When they built it through the US they claimed it was going to move all this american gas. One of the pipeline companies built their 300 million dollar rail yard in dickinson and the pipeline from dickinson to killdeer and looking to expand from killdeer to watford city. If that pipeline was going to take care of all this bakken oil why would they be sinking over 1 billion into pipelines and rail facilities only to close them in 2 years after keystone is built?

    • besides transcanada is a canadian company they are going to fill up their pipeline with their products and if there is any space, then they will add american oil but only if there is any space. just like the northern border pipeline

  9. BNSF is owned be Buffet. Buffet is the biggest contributor to Obama. Obama is against the keystone. Do u understand now?

  10. Keep railroad going to oil fields,cause I’ve made some of best $$$ trucking in last yr than along time and no it wasn’t oil field trucking either

  11. BNSF is making millions by not moving the oil and charging a storage fee. It’s making billions not having the keystone pipeline and moving the oil by rail. Warren Buffet is making billions… Period!! Need another railroad that isn’t an Obama puppet master.

  12. NO KEYSTONE NO WAY! BRING IT UP AGAIN AND THE VOTERS WILL TAKE YOU OUT! No one has the right to force ppl off of their land! Epically a foreign company

  13. We’ve all seen the spills from the pipeline in alaska. What’s gonna happen when this new keystone pipeline spills in the middle of one of our fresh water aquifers? Like the one in Nebraska where they are proposing it runs. The reason moving it by rail is better for the oil company is because in mid route they can have it shipped To a different market. Unlike once it’s in a pipeline it goes one place and one direction.

  14. Besides the way canada is talking they are just gonna around Obama and build a pipeline through Canada and cut the US out. Which is fine by me.

  15. Steve nohr. The reason the grain isn’t moving is because of the unseasonably cool summer we had which allowed for a way bigger crop then expected. Neither Union Pacific not BNSF has the power to move the grain. They both have plenty of grain cars in storage to load the grain into but no power to move it. Right now their big concern is the coal and the intermodal trains.

  16. I’m against this pipeline for two reasons
    1) the tar sands are the most environmentally devastating oil extraction operation in history
    2) building this pipeline would send the produced oil past the central US to the Gulf of Mexico where it would be sold on the international market. Currently much of this oil ends up in US refineries at cheaper prices creating lower gas prices in the central US. Building this pipeline would raise prices where I live along with increasing demand for the tar sands production fields. If you like low prices here in the US tell your congress critters to vote down this pipeline.

  17. Oh I’m sorry I did my research Cary Cheshire. Maybe you should do yours. I work for the railroad and I know why they aren’t moving grain.

  18. Not speaking for BNSF they aren’t moving grain cause they are more concerned about oil

  19. keystone would help us ship our coal ,as oil is taking engines away from the cheapest and most plentiful electric producing source we have ,. We need oil but pielines are the answer

  20. defund the EPA biggest job killer in America

  21. KXL is garbage. Tar Sands are garbage. Unsubsidized wind and solar ALREADY cost less than every fossil fuel. Fossil fuels died with thin film solar PV. Period

  22. When they offer to build a pipeline that will benefit this area instead of primarily Canada, I might be supportive.

  23. Those producers in North Dakota take a cut because of all the shipping cost that they have to go through to get there or oil to market you don’t want the damn pipeline then let’s build a refinery Belle Fouche South Dakota be a good place to put a refinery we’ve got a rail yard there we could put it and ship it to to Chicago we could extend it and ship it over in the Wyoming and from there go anywhere you don’t like the damn pipeline we could be energy free if we get our heads out of our asses. Why I say bill foolish we could get from North Dakota to hear we could get it from Montana to hear we could get it from Canada to here we could get it from Wyoming to hear we could get it from South Dakota to hear and we could put a whole bunch of people to work and make a whole bunch of good ideas for everybody to save money

  24. Lol oh boy, I hope it passes so I can help lay this

  25. Can someone give me a #so i can get a job at quintana beach project in freeport or call me please 979 253 4027

  26. Congress, which is now GOP controlled, can override anything Obama and company do, or don’t do! We can actually have his traitor ass arrested and charged with treason if they want to….

  27. Without government subsidies there would be no wind or solar. Political entrepreneurs will always find ways to justify government largesse.

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