Keystone XL Pipeline

News: Oct 26 - Nov 1

Nov 1, 2019

An update on the Keystone XL pipeline.

A warrant of execution of Charles Rhines has been issued for the first week of November.

The CEO of R-CALF USA tells us why America is losing its ranches.

Dan Ahlers has announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. 

USD's Tim Schorn tells us what al-Baghdadi's death means.

State Senator Cammack talks the upcoming SD legislative session.

All this & more on your weekly ITM news podcast.

SD Legislative Research Council

South Dakota's Water Management Board is holding hearings on the Keystone XL pipeline during the week when a Keystone oil spill in North Dakota is making national news.

Reports say 383,000 gallons of oil spilled before containment, contaminating wetlands but not drinking water.

State Senator Troy Heinert told the board on Thursday, Oct. 31, that he's concerned about potential damage to South Dakota's agriculture and tourism industries if water is polluted.

Victoria Wicks

The Water Management Board has set certain guidelines to consider water use for the Keystone XL pipeline. The board is hearing one legal consideration at a time for each of three rivers individually.

On this fourth day of hearings, testimony still centers on the first consideration, water quantity and availability.

However, when a witness is not available to come back for each of the considerations, he or she can be heard out of turn and address such topics as public good and beneficial use.

Wednesday morning started with one such witness.

Victoria Wicks

South Dakota Water Management Board hearings continued on Tuesday, Oct. 29, to determine if water should be allocated to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Two initial days of hearings took place at the beginning of the month.

A witness for TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, spent much of the day on the stand, agreeing with conclusions of a DENR engineer who has recommended issuing the permit.

Toward the end of the day, a witness from the Yankton Sioux Tribe stepped up, and the hearing took a contentious turn.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

Victoria Wicks file photo

South Dakota Water Management Board is hearing three more days of arguments for and against water use for the Keystone XL pipeline project. Those hearings start Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Pierre.

Permit requests come from TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, and from landowners who will host pipe yards and worker camps.

Two days of hearings have already been held earlier this month. This second round is scheduled to last through Thursday.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Victoria Wicks

Climate activist Greta Thunberg attracted a large crowd to Rapid City's Memorial Park on Monday, Oct. 7. Part of the focus was stopping the Keystone XL pipeline.

At that same time, environmental and federal lawyers were preparing for a hearing in Montana that happens on Wednesday, Oct. 9. There a federal judge will consider placing an injunction on construction of the pipeline.

One of the rally organizers talks about the importance of the Montana hearing with SDPB's Victoria Wicks.

Chynna Lockett

Two 16 year olds lead hundreds of people in a march against the Keystone XL Pipeline today. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Lakota activist Tokata Iron Eyes chanted outside the Rapid City mayor's office about the pipeline’s environmental impact. 


Tokata Iron Eyes chants a questions, then Greta Thunberg and hundreds of others follow. 


The rally is full of teenagers supporting these young leaders. Iron Eyes says there’s power in mobilizing and voting in democracies. 


Chynna Lockett

Sixteen year old Climate activist Greta Thunberg traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation over the weekend. She joined a young Native American activist who was involved in the 2016 protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline to talk climate change. 


Steve Munsen

In The Moment ... October 4, 2019 Show 673 Hour 1

Nick Estes joins In the Moment host Lori Walsh for a conversation about the history of indigenous resistance, water protectors, and decolonization. Estes is in Deadwood for the South Dakota Festival of Books. His latest book is called "Our History is the Future."

Arts and Entertainment reporting on SDPB is supported by the South Dakota Education Association

Victoria Wicks

An engineer with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources testified for hours on Thursday, Oct. 3, in Pierre. The Water Management Board is hearing testimony to determine if the state's water can be used for the Keystone XL pipeline.

During the hearing, two children named as intervenors came forth to cross-examine the witness but were not allowed. Their mother, also an intervenor, took up their case and then did the cross herself.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks is in Pierre covering this hearing.

Victoria Wicks

Two people spoke this morning during the public testimony segment on water use for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The state Water Management Board is hearing five days of testimony in October, two of them Thursday and Friday, Oct. 3-4, and the other three at the end of the month.

One of the people testifying says it's time to put an end to the use of fossil fuels before time runs out.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports from Pierre.

Victoria Wicks

One of the defendants in a lawsuit against South Dakota's newly-enacted "riot boosting" law has been dismissed. That order came out on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom was listed as a defendant along with Governor Kristi Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

ACLU filed suit on behalf of indigenous and environmental activists who say the law squelches their right to free speech.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

The President of the United States has the ongoing treaty obligation to protect tribes and their land from damage and encroachment. That's the argument made by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community in a federal courtroom in Great Falls, Mont., on Thursday, Sept. 12.

The tribes have sued President Donald Trump and other federal agencies for giving TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the U.S./Canada border into Montana.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

A lawyer for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe says the Keystone XL pipeline presents the same threats to Indian Country as did wagon trains and the transcontinental railroad.

Rosebud and Fort Belknap Indian Community have sued President Donald J. Trump for violating treaties when he issued a permit for the pipeline earlier this year.

A hearing on the issue has been set in Montana Federal Court for Sept. 12.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

In other Keystone XL news, the Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld that state's granting of a permit for the pipeline.


A federal judge in Montana will hear arguments on Sept. 12 on the merits of a lawsuit brought by tribes against President Donald J. Trump.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community hold that the president unconstitutionally violated treaties when he issued a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year.

TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, filed a motion asking Federal Judge Brian Morris to dismiss the case.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

A South Dakota Water Management Board meeting ended abruptly on Wednesday, July 17, after a commenter yelled at the board, and the chairman called for a motion to adjourn. The board met to plan future hearings on water permits for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The business end took about an hour, and then public comments extended the hearing another hour.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.


In The Moment News is a new podcast recaping news of the week. Find it every Friday afternoon.

Dakota Political Junkies

Jun 12, 2019

In The Moment ... June 12, 2019 Show 594 Hour 2

It's that time of the week where we bring in the Dakota Political Junkies. Today we have Jonathan Ellis with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and Jon Schaff, political science professor at Northern State University in Aberdeen.

Today the discussion includes the Keystone KL Pipeline and Hemp/2019 Farm Bill.

Victoria Wicks

Activists are gathering in Rapid City to protest the "riot boosting" law passed at the end of the 2019 legislative session. The legislation is the subject of a hearing to be held on Wednesday, June 11, at the federal courthouse in Rapid City.

At the request of Governor Kristi Noem, lawmakers pushed the bill through to address protests against the Keystone XL pipeline. It holds protest supporters civilly and criminally liable if a riot breaks out.

Several groups sued in federal court to stop that law from going into effect.

SD Legislative Research Council

State Senator Red Dawn Foster spoke last before the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utilities Commission at hearings held this week at Saint Francis. The freshman senator from Oglala Lakota County said she opposed the Keystone XL pipeline during the 2019 legislative session. She told commissioners that there's a "clash of world views" between state officials and indigenous people.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Legislative Research Council

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utilities Commission heard from politicians and activists this week at its two-day hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline. The gathering was held at Saint Francis. TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) was notified of the hearing but did not send a representative.

Commissioners heard from leaders of several tribes, as well as State Senator Red Dawn Foster and State Representative Shawn Bordeaux.

YouTube screenshot

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utilities Commission is holding two days of hearings on the Keystone XL pipeline. The commission is responding to TC Energy's plans to build a pipeline that crosses Rosebud trust land adjacent to the reservation. The commission served notice of the hearing on TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, but no representatives showed up. The hearing started on Tuesday, May 28, and continued the next day. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.


Earlier this year the Governor of South Dakota did not consult tribes while planning legislation to deal with pipeline protests.

Because of that decision, the Oglala Sioux Tribe banned Kristi Noem from visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Noem says tribes were left out because the proposed Keystone XL pipeline does not cross reservation land.

But a lawsuit filed in Montana federal court by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe says otherwise.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Churchill, Manolis, Freeman, Kludt & Burns, LLP

A hearing set for Wednesday, April 24, to consider TransCanada's request to use water for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been postponed.

TransCanada says it plans to start construction on worker camps in August.

The company has asked the South Dakota Water Management Board to exclude tribes and environmental groups from the permitting process.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.


The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a challenge to a new South Dakota law designed to protect construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from "riot boosters."

Governor Kristi Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg are included as defendants. In the last full week of the 2019 legislative session, Noem pushed through two bills to prevent another Standing Rock situation if the Keystone XL pipeline is built.

Noem signed the new legislation on Wednesday, March 27, and the ACLU filed its complaint in South Dakota federal court on Thursday, March 28.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The Keystone XL pipeline has been on-again, off-again since 2008. That's when TransCanada first applied for a presidential permit to build the pipeline across the U.S./Canada border.

South Dakota rancher John Harter has known since the beginning that the pipeline is planned to cross his land near Winner.

He says he's relieved that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals left a Montana injunction in place, but he realizes this might not be the end.

Construction on the Keystone XL pipeline remains on hold until an appeal to the Ninth Circuit plays out. That order came out Friday, March 15.

The pipeline was stopped late last year, when a Montana federal judge put an injunction on the project until the U.S. State Department does more work on the permit.

TransCanada appealed that order to the Ninth Circuit and asked that the injunction be lifted while the appeal proceeds. The appeals court has turned down that request.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more.

Two controversial bills addressing the cost of hosting pipelines have landed on the governor's desk ready for Kristi Noem's signature.

One law sets up a fund to pay for the pipeline-related costs incurred by state and local governments.

The other introduces the term "riot boosting" and links the actions of rioters to the organizations that support their causes.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB


Both legislative chambers are passing Governor Kristi Noem’s pipeline action response funds in one day.

The bills were introduced on Monday. Supporters say swift action is about public safety. Critics point to a lack of transparency from the Noem Administration.

During the last full week of session, the Republican controlled statehouse has passed the governor’s legislation that helps the state and counties crack down on those who riot during pipeline construction.

U.S. District Court-Montana

A Montana federal judge has loosened restrictions on preconstruction activities for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The federal court halted the pipeline in November until the U.S. State Department completes an accurate and updated environmental impact statement.

TransCanada appealed the injunction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and asked the Montana federal court to lift restrictions pending appeal.

An environmental lawyer says once construction starts, opponents lose.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.