North America Pipelines News
N.D. Counties Stand to Reap Bounty from Keystone
by Kevin Bonham Grand Forks Herald, N.D.
December 28, 2007
As 590,000 barrels of crude oil flow daily through a pipeline that is proposed to be built under North Dakota, an estimated $1 million in annual tax revenue will be flowing into each of seven counties along the 215-mile route.
That's why many people living along the proposed TransCanada Keystone Pipeline are welcoming the project with open arms.
"It's going to be a huge impact to the school districts that it goes through," said Pembina County Auditor Dorothy Robinson.
TransCanada officials estimate Pembina County will receive $800,000 to $1 million annually, based on current mill levies.
Two area school districts -- North Border and Edinburg -- stand to receive about half of that amount. The other half will be divided among the county general fund, local fire districts and other local governmental units and services that have mill levies.
That means local property taxes are likely to decrease once the crude oil tax revenue starts flowing.
"If their budget stays the same, the taxpayers will certainly see a reduction in their taxes, because you have more valuation to spread around," Robinson said.
Another oil pipeline, owned and operated by Enbridge Inc., already crosses a portion of Pembina County. That company will pay the county more than $522,000 in taxes for this year, according to Robinson.
TransCanada is awaiting final approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission. The company projects starting construction at the U.S.-Canadian border northwest of Walhalla in May, with completion at the South Dakota border estimated in November 2008.
Pembina County and its local governments likely will see their first tax revenue from TransCanada in 2010, because the company will not be placed on the local tax rolls until February 2009, based on the construction estimates.
Walhalla and Langdon, N.D., have seen an economic boost over the past six months from the construction of the Langdon Wind Energy Center, a 159-megawatt wind farm in the Nekoma, N.D., area.
Business owners and local officials are hopeful that as the wind farm construction winds down, pipeline construction will ramp up, leaving little or no void in activity, bringing another set of construction workers to town.
"They all have to eat somewhere and get gas somewhere. A lot of them do that in Walhalla, said Stephanie Solberg, who with her husband, Chad, own of the Forestwood Inn, a Walhalla motel and convenience store.
Keystone will lease space in the city's industrial park to store equipment during pipeline construction.
In addition, pipeline construction workers likely will stay in Walhalla and other communities during the construction phase.
"I'm quite interested in the impact that it'll have in the community. Every facet of the community will benefit," said Nancy Belanus, a Walhalla City Council member and owner of the Hwy 32 Diner in town.
"As a business owner, I'm all for the pipeline. Overall, I think it'll be good for our community," Solberg said. "The windmill project has been just wonderful for the town."
Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1269 or email@example.com"firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (c) 2007, Grand Forks Herald, N.D. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
TransCanada (developer and operator); ConocoPhillips
Hardisty, Alberta to Cushing, Okla. and Patoka, Ill. United States