Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen won’t attend a seven-day hearing that starts Monday as part of the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Fiegen announced publicly earlier this year that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
PUC Chairman Chris Nelson says Fiegen’s treatment during the time of the hearing won’t allow her to attend either in person or by phone. However, he says state law allows a board or commission member to participate in a hearing after the fact by reading a complete transcript or listening to a complete recording.
“And it’s my understanding that Commissioner Fiegen’s intention is to do one or both of those items," Nelson says. "Following that, she will be filing an affidavit with the commission stating that she has either listened to or read the entirety of the proceeding prior to taking any action on the question that we are to resolve.”
Nelson says he’ll reiterate that information at the hearing that starts Monday morning in Pierre, and will cite statutory authority at that time.
The hearing has been set to determine if TransCanada can still meet conditions set by the PUC in 2010, when it approved the pipeline to be built through South Dakota.
Since TransCanada didn’t complete the pipeline within four years, it has to prove that it still has the ability to conform to the requirements of that permit.
The hearing runs all week and continues to August 3-4. Audio of the hearings can be heard online at sdpb.org, both live and in archives.