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Letter: Verification needed regarding Sen. John Hoeven's push for Keystone XL Pipeline

Sen. John Hoeven is leading the push of approval of the Canadian Keystone XL Pipeline -- the pipeline whose purpose is to take Canadian tar sands crude down to refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas.

The pipeline barely, if at all, knicks North Dakota's southwestern tip. He gives three reasons: jobs; reduction in U.S. import of oil from the Mideast and Venezuela; 100,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken would be carried by the pipe.

In materials from the Canadian company TransCanada building the pipeline, the company provides state-by-state breakdowns of the economic benefit. North Dakota is not even included given the mile or two, if at all, that the pipeline would cross our state.

I don't doubt Hoeven's sincerity in believing what he thinks he has been told; however, let's ask for verification.

Senator would not want to place regulatory requirement on a company that might interfere with its ability to engage freely in global markets, so I must ask what assurance we have that a drop of the refined product will flow into the U.S. instead of China for a higher price?

What assurance do we have that a drop of crude will be shipped from North Dakota? Show us the deal. Show us, in the deal, be that binding contract, treaty or compact that spells out the terms under which any oil will be shipped from North Dakota, like: how much, when, over what period of time, at what price, and are terms binding on successor companies?

My guess is there is no such deal requiring this oil be used in the U.S. market or for North Dakota Bakken oil to be transported.

Without such a binding agreement, this is all political vapor that could end Canadian crude to Texas to China. Good deal for Texas refineries, nothing to us.

The water we rely on for drinking and agriculture placed at risk for Canadian oil exports. It sure makes sense to Canada.

Why risk Canadian land when you can get Hoeven to pave the path to Texas refineries and export docks?

If I had a trucking company or drove a truck moving crude in western North Dakota, I wouldn't be too worried over losing my business or job to Hoeven's job creation plan, just yet.

Joe Richardson, Fargo