Even though the White House has killed the Keystone XL pipeline project, the permit in South Dakota is still alive. On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the state Public Utilities Commission denied a request from pipeline opponents to revoke the construction permit issued in 2010 and to stop deliberations on recertification of the project.
Interveners argue that a condition of the South Dakota permit is federal approval, and on Nov. 6, the White House refused to give that approval.
TransCanada contends that the next election might bring a president who will permit Keystone XL to cross the U.S.-Canada border.
The Keystone XL pipeline project is still alive in South Dakota, even though it has been killed at the federal level.
The state Public Utilities Commission voted Tuesday, Dec. 22, to continue deliberations whether to allow the pipeline to cross the western side of the state.
Landowners at the hearing weighed in, saying they want to end the suspense. John Harter, a rancher near Winner, says he has lived for eight years with the possibility of having a pipeline cut through his property.
And Paul Seamans, who ranches near Draper, says the potential of a pipeline crossing his land has hurt his property values.
"If you let this thing go on forever and ever, you have that easement hanging over your head, and it's going to affect the salability of your land, if you ever decide to sell it," Seamans says. "And I can speak from personal experience on that."
Seamans says a land deal almost fell through about four years ago because of the proposed pipeline.
The PUC heard testimony for nine days this summer, whether to allow TransCanada to go ahead with the pipeline project.
Commissioners agree with TransCanada that a new president in 2017 could decide to permit the pipeline, and so the PUC will continue to deliberate whether to allow the project in South Dakota.