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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Keystone XL comments clarified

Dear Editor,

Dawson County Commissioner Jim Skillstad’s public comments May 6, 2014 concerning revenues which would be generated by the Keystone XL Pipeline in Dawson County, need to be clarified. My intent in writing is to suggest the public, our community leaders and especially those planing for the future of Dawson county, to tell us the facts.

Time after time, Skillestad has spoken in public about the great tax benefits KXL would have for Dawson county. I agree there will be income from the project but the direct payment to Dawson county will not be the 16 million dollars commissioner Skillestad quoted in the Glendive Ranger-Review Feb. 6, 2014. Here is the breakdown according to the Montana Department of Revenue estimates as submitted to the KXL Project Draft EIS.

The state would centrally assess the project in all six eastern Montana counties, under a cost method submitted by TransCanada. The Mt.  Department of Revenue’s estimate tax in Dawson county is from 9-13 million dollars the first year. The future taxes paid by TransCanada will depend on their method of depreciation, straight line or rapid. A straight line method would produce a steady income for years, while a rapid system could leave little or no tax within three to seven years. According to the Montana Department of Revenue, of the 9-13 million, about 20 per  cent (2.6-1.8 million) will be applied to the county’s revenue, the rest going to school equalization, the university system, special improvement districts and other districts. Again, Commissioner Skillestad was quoted in the Feb. 6, 2014 Ranger Review “The lowest figure I’ve seen is from nine million dollars per year, up to $16 million per year in direct payments for 25 years”.

I think a more realistic revenue projection if the KXL was built, would be commissioner Skillestad’s March 21, 2009 quote in the Billings Gazette saying, “Our county will collect an estimated two million dollars”, the first year.


Pat Mischel


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