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Ray Meyer, Morristown, S.D., Published March 02 2013

Letter: Pipeline was not ‘shovel ready’

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., told his party members, “We need to stop being dumb.” I think he was telling his fellow Republicans they need to quit making stupid statements that they cannot document. As an example of these statements, I use the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Republican leaders in both houses of Congress and their primary candidates for president, both Mitt Romney and Rand Paul, blame President Barack Obama for obstructing a shovel-ready project that would create thousands of new jobs. I assure you that the project was not shovel-ready nor was it ready for presidential approval.

The proposed pipeline must first have state approval for a route across any state. Last month, Nebraska rejected a proposed route through the sand hills of western Nebraska because of the environment-sensitive Ogallala Aquifer. They approved a route through eastern Nebraska.

Just this month, the Montana Department of Environmental Equality approved a route crossing Montana from a point just northwest of Glasgow and exiting the state at a point just south of the North Dakota/South Dakota border.

Now that South Dakota knows where the proposed pipeline enters and exits South Dakota, it has enough information to approve or disapprove the pipeline route. The project is now closer to being ready for the president’s approval or disapproval.

If and when the project is approved by all the states involved and approved by the president, it still is not shovel-ready. The company building the pipeline must get easements from all the property owners on the proposed route before it is shovel-ready.

It is time for politicians of both political parties to quit shoveling smoke and be honest with the people. We may not be as stupid as they seem to think we are.

Meyer is a former North Dakota state representative.