Why is $200 Million Worth of Pipe Sitting in a North Dakota Field?

Aug 16, 2013

Pipe in a field in Gascoyne, ND to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline. Photogapher: Bret Clanton via NebraskaWatchdog.org.

National Journal’s Amy Harder saw America’s energy boom firsthand on a trip to North Dakota. She followed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell down busy roads filled with trucks packed with equipment and supplies for oil rigs that are producing oil from the Bakken shale. From busy restaurants to booked hotels, there was shale oil-fueled economic growth everywhere.

Well, almost anywhere. Her trip took her to Gascoyne in the southwest corner of the state where she saw 218 miles of pipe sitting quietly among wildflowers in an 83-acre field.

“There's millions worth of pipe sitting on the ground when it should be in the ground," Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) told Harder. $200 million of pipe to be exact.

That pipe should be part of the Keystone XL pipeline moving Canadian heavy crude from oil sands and Bakken crude from hydraulic fracturing to refineries on the Gulf Coast. But President Obama refuses to approve Keystone XL even though it’ll create thousands of jobs, help state and local economies, and improve energy security while having minimal environmental impact.

While parts of North Dakota experience the oil boom—June was a record-setting oil production month--and the benefits that come from it, piles of steel pipe lie idle awaiting their fate from Washington.

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