PUC Delays Keystone XL Hearing Until Summer

The Public Utilities Commission just did opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline a favor. At the request of Dakota Rural Action and four South Dakota tribes (you know, real South Dakotans, the ones who elect the PUC, the folks who will have to live with the consequences of a tar sands oil pipeline in their backyard), the PUC has postponed its evidentiary hearing on reauthorizing Transcanada’s permit to build the pipeline across western South Dakota. Originally scheduled to start on next week Tuesday, May 5, the Keystone XL hearing will take place later this summer, perhaps sometime in late July.

The PUC had also graciously scheduled a public input session on Keystone XL for Monday, May 4. THe PUC is working on an official announcement on what will happen with that event.

One opponent says that this delay is vital, since Transcanada is up to its usual tactics of withholding requested discovery documents until the last possible moment, then dumping huge quantities of documents on opponents to sift through on deadline. This extension gives intervenors a chance to separate the oil from the grit and fully prepare their case for the PUC

Here’s the press release from Dakota Rural Action:

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has granted a request to delay the Keystone XL Pipeline certification hearings until later this summer.

Late last week several parties, including Dakota Rural Action and all four intervening South Dakota tribes, filed a joint motion to continue the hearing, originally scheduled to begin next week. The parties argued the schedule set by the Public Utilities Commission was too tight and did not allow for due process.

John Harter, Dakota Rural Action member and landowner crossed by Keystone XL:

“I pointed out the issues with the hearing timeline back when they set the schedule. I’m out working my cattle 16 hours a day; May was the worst time for a hearing. Later this summer is what the schedule should have been in the first place. It was a judicious decision to move the hearing back so that the poeple can have their day in court against Keystone XL” [Dakota Rural Action, press release, 2015.04.27].

Intervenors, you’ve got your extension; now make the most of it. Protesters, keep recruiting and rallying, and get ready to fill the seats and streets in Pierre this summer.

11 Responses to PUC Delays Keystone XL Hearing Until Summer

  1. Paul Seamans

    The decision by all three commissioners to grant a continuance is the fair and correct decision. This gives me renewed hope in the process.

  2. good work everyone

  3. Deb Geelsdottir

    Yay! Kudos to the tribes and DRA. You have my respect and high regard.

  4. Paul Seamans

    The PUC has just announced that the May 4th hearing for public comment purposes has been postponed. A new date will be set some time in the future.

  5. Daniel Buresh

    Before KXL is approved, SD will already have 1 or 2 new pipelines hauling much more volatile crude. We begin fire training this summer to deal with them.

  6. larry kurtz

    What Bakken onramp?

    Watch “Death on the Bakken Shale” TONIGHT at 10p ET/7p PT

  7. There is a certain amount of turnover, Mr. kurtz, even in as high-paying jobs as they have in NoDakia. Life is not all daisies and roses here in the Being Rewilded West, unlike down there in Sante Fe where it’s skittles and beer from 9am until dinner.

  8. larry kurtz

    Two words, grudzling: Cretaceous Shale.

  9. There’s only one thing I guess I can say to your two words, lar.

  10. Donald Merriman

    At the ripe old age of 92 I’m still very interested and concerned when the subject of the Canadian Xl Pipeline comes to the public attention. Our senior Senator John Thune and newly elected Senator Rounds fell in line with most of other Republican Senators in trying to ram this bill through congress, Calling it the most important piece of legislation by labeling it a jobs bill. There was very little debate if any on any amendments that would assure payment for any environmental or other damages in case of a break or spill. I served for years on the South Dakota Reclamation board and many more on the West River conservancy board. I could and have wrote a story about pipelines and dealing with the public in trying to promote irrigation from Shadehill Dam and the big stem dams on the Missouri River. Our family farm was condemned by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1948 for the building site for this Dam. There were many verbal promises made about restoration of borrow pit areas. I would like to be able to testify to the impact that a spill on the tributaries of all the rivers and lakes in Western South Dakota at any hearing of the Public Utilities Commission from this day forward. Perhaps it would be best for the interested and effected people by this pipeline to many meetings at different locations along this pipeline before any meeting in July. If you want or need my council on this subject don’t wait to long as I don’t buy any green bananas or apples anymore.

  11. Paul Seamans

    Donald Merriman; you sound like just the sort of person we can use to testify at the public comment portion of the PUC hearings in Pierre. They have been moved to late July or early August. There are many people that are quite concerned about the possibility of a spill that could find it’s way into the Missouri River.