Rural counties fear high costs if Keystone XL protests occur

(SD NEWS WATCH) - Construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline is scheduled to begin next spring in northwestern South Dakota. Officials in the nine counties affected by the pipeline construction are preparing for protests to break out along the route.

If protests become significant, the costs to manage the scenes will first fall on county governments, according to a state law.

Some are concerned that drawn-out protests such as the 7-month encampment of protesters opposed to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota in 2016 could develop. A large protest could strain the budgets of the mostly rural counties along the Keystone XL route.

In the first of two stories, South Dakota News Watch reporter Bart Pfankuch examines the potential costs and outlines an effort to change the law. Find this story and other in-depth reporting at www.sdnewswatch.org.