Keystone XL – Myths and Facts

Straight Talk about the Keystone XL Pipeline

Addressing Myths and Facts 

South Dakotans along the proposed route have been asking many questions about the Keystone XL Pipeline. Some have concerns about the impact it will have on their land, their communities and on the United States as a whole. It’s time to set the record straight and provide the facts about this critical piece of infrastructure. 


MYTH: Projects like the Keystone XL does not benefit South Dakotans. Jobs and economic benefits are only temporary.

FACT: Construction of the Keystone XL will create between 3,000 and 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in South Dakota, which will contribute well over $100 million in earnings state wide.

Seven out of nine counties in South Dakota will see their property tax base increase by more than 10 percent, with some much higher. In fact, South Dakota counties will enjoy some $20 million in annual property taxes to help address local infrastructure needs like roads, bridges, hospitals and other facilities that improve the standard of living for South Dakotans.


MYTH: The Keystone XL Pipeline route permit through South Dakota has expired.

FACT: The permit allowing Keystone XL to be constructed through South Dakota remains in effect. There is nothing that indicates the permit expires – and this is in keeping with South Dakota law.

Quick Facts

  • Keystone XL 329 miles (529 km) in Canada (Hardisty, Alta., to Monchy, Sask.)
  • 840 miles (1,351 km) in the United States (Phillips County, Mont. to Steele City, Neb.)
  • 36-inch diameter pipeline Capacity of 830,000 barrels per day

MYTH: Since the route permit was first certified in 2010, there is less need for Keystone XL in South Dakota.

FACT: The need for the project remains strong and Keystone XL is a better project for South Dakotans today due to the number of improvements and enhanced conditions since 2010.


MYTH: TransCanada is not considering the needs or concerns of the South Dakota tribal community.

FACT: Keystone XL doesn’t cross any reservation lands or lands held in trust in South Dakota. 

Despite this, TransCanada has been working with South Dakota tribes over the entire lifecycle of the Keystone XL project to constructively and proactively address any concerns or issues and to develop long-lasting mutually beneficial relationships.


MYTH: “Keystone XL is an export pipeline to China.”

FACT: Not a drop of crude oil will be exported.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is not a crude oil export pipeline — period.  It is a supply line to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries — which have signed up to 20-year binding commercial contracts to receive oil through Keystone XL. This much-needed oil will allow refineries to create products that we all rely on every day — gasoline for our vehicles, aviation fuels, and diesel fuels to help transport goods throughout the continent. It makes absolutely no sense for companies to purchase cheaper Canadian crude, and then pay (again) to ship that product overseas, while continuing to import higher-priced oil from the Middle East and Venezuela. The U.S. is an overwhelming net importer of crude oil. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have both forecast the U.S. will still need to import oil to meet its domestic demand for decades, despite growing oil production in the U.S. U.S. and Canadian production tranposrted by will displace more expensive crude oils from less stable countries. Read More…


MYTH: Oil sands crude is more corrosive than conventional crude and will cause the pipeline to leak.

FACT: Oil sands crude is no different than any other heavy crude and is completely safe to transport through pipelines. 

Numerous world-renowned laboratory studies, including a study by the National Academy of Sciences, have shown that pipelines carrying oil sands oil are just as safe as other pipelines carrying crude oil.


MYTH:  Landowners are responsible and liable in the event of an oil spill.

FACT:  TransCanada is 100 percent responsible for responding, cleaning, and restoring the site in the unlikely event of a pipeline leak. 

About the Project

South Dakota counties will enjoy some $20 million in annual property taxes which will help address local infrastructure needs like roads, bridges, and other facilities that improve the standard of living for South Dakotans.