North Dakota Stands To Gain $110 Million In Tax Revenue From Pipeline

REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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North Dakota will rake in more than $100 million after the Dakota Access Pipeline comes online.

The money the state stands to make should be enough to cover the $33 million price tag associated with policing the months-long anti-DAPL demonstrations, according to an analysis conducted Wednesday by the Associated Press.

The line’s developer estimated $129 million annually in property and income taxes.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company constructing the DAPL, expects the highly-publicized pipeline to be completed by mid-March. The line will shuttle 500,000 barrels of Bakken oil from the Dakotas to Illinois once completed.

Activists and Standing Rock Sioux members have used the legal system and demonstrations to stymie the pipeline’s construction. They claim the line would harm the tribe’s only source of drinking water and potentially desecrate the tribe’s sacred sites.

Most of the demonstrations petered out after former President Barack Obama scuttled the line in December, citing a need to re-examine the project’s environmental impact. But opposition ratcheted back up after the Trump administration overturned Obama’s rejection.

Obama’s decision ultimately cost ETP nearly $20 million every day the project remained on the shelf.

The state’s Republican governor supports the DAPL despite opposition from American Indian tribes. North Dakota has suffered from dwindling tax revenues in recent years.

“The amount of the windfall to the state doesn’t surprise me at all,” Payu Harris, an activist and pipeline opponent, told reporters. “That’s why the state of North Dakota expended the resources they did.”

North Dakota is the second-biggest oil producer in the United States, but its geographical location is far from any major oil markets.

The state was forced to lower its tax on each barrel to stay competitive with Texas, the largest oil producer in the country.

Recent reports indicate location could be the least of North Dakota’s problems.

One report in November, for instance, suggests the controversial pipeline could fall flat because of a glut of pipelines in North Dakota’s Bakken region. Low oil prices won’t help matters much either.

A dramatic uptick in U.S. production has contributed to a global collapse in the price of oil. The price of a barrel of oil was has plummeted from $104.95 in 2014 to $45.24 per barrel two years later. The average oil price over that two-year period is $43 per barrel.

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