Southern Illinois town embraces pipeline industry as a lifeline

PATOKA, IL (KPLR) – Protesters have delayed the extension of the Dakota Access oil pipeline across the Missouri River in North Dakota. However, their environmental protests have not impacted pipeline supporters at the southern end of the project. Residents in Patoka, Illinois support the development. Patoka is host to an interconnecting hub of oil pipelines and storage tank farms. The pipelines serve as superhighways for the movement of various kinds of crude oil from North American oil wells to refineries.

Citizens who live in small-towns along the 177 miles of planned pipeline in Illinois welcome the prospect of new construction jobs and possible permanent jobs. Longtime resident Evelyn Jolliff said "we've had oil here since 1937 or ‘38, and it's been good, very good for us." She said it brought new people to town along with money. Her friend, Maria Bates praised the oil companies for providing resources to support their community park and tax revenue to finance the school district.  “Without them we probably would not have our small district,” she said.

A recent protest in Patoka drew curious townspeople but not much local support.

The coming change in administrations in Washington D.C. might produce a green light for the second Keystone pipeline project from Canada. Under President Obama's administration it had been stalled.