Nathan Phillips of the Omaha Tribe sings and plays a drum at the fifth annual Ponca sacred corn planting ceremony near Neligh, Nebraska, on June 10, 2018. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

Native Sun News Today: Communities prepare for impacts of Keystone XL Pipeline

Gearing up for the incoming man-camps
By A. Gay Kingman
For Native Sun News Today

BELLE FOURCHE – County commission agenda items across nine West River counties have one topic in common; safety and security concerns surrounding the building of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In the next six months, two cities will be built with populations larger than most of the existing towns west of the Missouri River. Two similar cities will be built in 2020.

The temporary towns will be in place for up to two years, include several dozen buildings and each be inhabited by up to 1,400 workers in what is commonly referred to as "man camps."

Plans for the project are moving quickly as builder and owner TransCanada Corp., rushes to start construction of the $8 billion pipeline next spring. Trucks hauling gravel to strengthen country roads are already commonplace and some land is being cleared on the pipeline path.

The pipeline route through South Dakota will run northwest to southeast from Harding County through Butte, Perkins, Meade, Pennington, Haakon, Jones, Lyman and Tripp counties before moving into Nebraska.

Supporters of the pipeline say it is the most economical, safest way to move oil and will help reduce American reliance on oil from less-stable Middle Eastern nations.

Opponents argue that the pipeline is prone to leaking, is being built through Native American historical sites and natural landscapes that should be protected, and is subsidizing a foreign country’s (Canada) oil production with crude to be sold to China and other countries – not the U.S.

Protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota in 2016-17 cost local and state governments more than $38 million. In South Dakota, local counties would be expected to pay significant costs before state disaster aid would become available.


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Read the rest of the story on Native Sun News Today: Gearing up for the incoming man-camps

 A. Gay Kingman wrote this article for Native Sun News Today. She serves as the executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association Inc. and can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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