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Sixth Circuit Appeal Of KXL Permit: Lawyers In The Courtroom, Protesters On The Lawn

The Keystone XL pipeline has had a long history for something that so far does not yet exist. It's future has not been decided either.

South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission first permitted the pipeline to cut diagonally across the western half of the state in 2010.

But TransCanada did not complete the project within four years, and so state law required the company to make assurances that it could still meet the requirements of the permit.

In a nine-day hearing held in late July and early August 2015, opponents and proponents argued before the PUC at an administrative hearing. In January 2016, the PUC issued a ruling that TransCanada had met its burden. About a month later, opponents filed an appeal.

That appeal was heard Wednesday, March 8, in a Pierre courtroom.

Both opponents and proponents know that the fate of the pipeline has never hinged entirely on permission from South Dakota. It also requires a presidential permit, and this most recent election has flipped the pipeline's fate.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks traveled to Pierre for the hearing and to talk with some of the people who have invested their time and their hopes in a final decision that just doesn't seem to come easily.

In 2015, Victoria Wicks earned an Edward R. Murrow award for her ongoing coverage of KXL. For a sampling of the stories she posted, click on the links below.