rancher affected by oil pipeline

Circle, MT

“I’m Chuck Nerud, and I live north of Circle, and I’m a rancher. This is the only place I’ve ever lived. My grandparents started this ranch, and then my folks ran it, and now me. I don’t have any oil and gas development on my place now, but if the Keystone XL pipeline had been approved, it would have run through three and a half miles of this ranch. And I wasn’t on board with that.”

rancher affected by oil pipeline

 

“When the Keystone project first became public, and we found out that it would cross our land, we formed a landowners’ group. It was a group of us ranchers, landowners, whatever, all the way from Glasgow to Glendive. Basically, we spent three years going to meetings—between ourselves, with other folks in the community, with Keystone. And we negotiated. For near on three years. That was the whole idea behind the group: that if there were enough of us, we’d have real power in the negotiation room. Eventually, we signed an agreement with them, because it was to the point where… well, we didn’t feel that we could stop the pipeline, so our best recourse on the deal was to have a contract that we could live with. That way, we weren’t sitting basically holdin’ the bag.”

 

 

“Dealing with the company was… well, in my opinion, Keystone didn’t come into this country to negotiate with landowners. They came here to take that right away. They offered a minimal amount of money, and gave us a contract that was wrote for them, and they expected us to take that and be fine with it. Well, most of us along the route were not gonna sign that contract, because of what was in it.”

“The whole process was just long and drug out, and I don’t think it had to be that way. If Keystone would’ve come in willing to negotiate with landowners, I think they probably would’ve saved themselves a lot of headache. And it would’ve saved us a lot, because we spent a lot of time going to meetings, and the expense of all the meetings, and attorneys, and everything else…it became quite expensive before it was over with. And that was just one fight. I feel for the folks who are fighting things on multiple fronts. The people with 20 oil wells on their place, or the folks who had to fight the Tongue River Railroad for 30 years. It’s just exhausting.”

 

 

“The worst part about the Keystone fight was that it divided the community between the landowners whose property it crossed, and…well, the rest of the community. I didn’t know how to try to explain to people what it meant for us—how to change their minds. I was against it before it was on my property, and I’m still against it, because I don’t think it was for the betterment of the community. Money is one thing, you know, but it doesn’t always buy good things.”

Chuck Nerud

Circle, MT

#livingwithoilandgas