Voters Could Stop Keystone XL Pipeline through South Dakota Senate Race

Christina Rose

As Democrat Senator Tim Johnson prepares to retire, three candidates are making a run for his seat in the senate.  Only one has made a positive impression in South Dakota’s Indian country, which makes up approximately 9 percent of the state’s voters.

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It’s a tight race between the three candidates, with Governor Mike Rounds and Independent Larry Pressler counting only on the mainstream. All of South Dakota’s tribes are endorsing “Nobody's Bought Me” Democrat Rick Weiland, which could tip the scales heavily in his favor if Natives get out and vote. “Not 50 percent, we need 80 percent of the tribal members to vote,” Rick Weiland said in an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network.

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If Natives don’t vote, the Keystone XL Pipeline could be a thing of the future. The pipeline is a critical issue, and Governor Rounds is all for it. Independent Larry Pressler is against building the pipeline, but not for the right reasons. He feels there are enough pipelines to hook up with, and the oil could be moved with some adjustments. Only Rick Weiland is against the pipeline because it is environmentally hostile.

“I am very opposed to it, and have been from the very beginning,” Weiland said. “I haven’t waffled one bit.”

RELATED: Unless There’s A SD Surprise, Keystone XL Pipeline Will Be Senate’s First Bill

Weiland said the idea that the pipeline would create jobs is “a lot of B.S.” and he is not sure even one permanent job in South Dakota would be created. With disdain, Weiland added, “It has nothing to do with energy security. If people do their homework, they’ll find out it is an export pipeline, the oil is going down to Texas and then overseas. And by the way, they are going to be able to take land from farmers and ranchers through eminent domain, and they can run that pipeline wherever they want.

“They are talking about running that (pipeline) right over the Oglala Aquifer and this tarsand, it’s the ugliest product you could ever move through a pipeline. It’s heavy, it’s dirty, and if it sinks, it gets into the aquifer, and then we are toast. I really can’t see any reason at all to build the Keystone pipeline,” he said.

There are a number of other reasons the GPTCA endorsed Weiland. Kingman wrote, “Rick Weiland has traveled all across South Dakota and shook the hand of hundreds of grassroots people. He sat in Tribal Council Meetings, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association Meeting and worked shoulder to shoulder with us dealing with emergencies.”

Pressler, with 22 years in congress under his belt, is the biggest threat to Weiland’s election. If he dropped out of the race, Weiland would have a clear shot at the seat.  Pressler, like Weiland, speaks directly to the country’s frustration with both parties. Pressler describes Washington politics as “locked into a lobbyist-controlled spending and taxing cycle, trapped in poisonous partisan fights while nothing is being resolved.” He also believes “conflicts overseas is a waste of American blood and treasure.” “We are not the policemen of the world. I would rather spend more of that money here at home on items such as education and tax relief.”

Talk is cheap and the once Republican, now Independent Pressler is doing some fancy talking. On October 2, Pressler declared that he would repeal Roe v Wade, but on October 12, he vowed he would not. He insists he wants business out of politics yet Pressler is a member of the Fix The Debt coalition, an organization made up of 80 CEOs accused by the media of wanting to cut social programs while promoting tax breaks for the wealthy.


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
C'mon South Dakota - they took the Black Hills from you and if you don't vote they're going to run a leaky, stinky crude oil pipeline right through your front yard. You just KNOW it's going to be an ecological disaster so if you don't care about the earth, or you don't believe oil companies are making enough money, don't vote. ____________________________________________________________ Voting is the best way to use the White's man's weapons against him. Help each other; offer a ride to the elders, offer to babysit for an hour while your sister votes, take a bunch of your friends to vote and then go to a movie afterwards. Remember, you can't complain about not being counted if you don't stand up to be counted! VOTE!