William Taylor

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.

The South Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion on Thursday, June 14, that state courts don't have jurisdiction over certification of the Keystone XL pipeline permit.

Pipeline opponents appealed the Public Utilities Commission's 2014 certfication of TransCanada's 2010 permit.

On appeal, a Sixth Circuit judge upheld the certification, and opponents appealed that decision.

Now the high court says neither the Sixth Circuit nor the Supreme Court has standing under state law to hear the appeal.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday, April 17, from opponents and proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In 2015, the Public Utilities Commission accepted TransCanada's certification that it can comply with the conditions of its 2010 permit.

Opponents appealed that certification to the Sixth Circuit Court last year, and now appeals the court's decision to the state's high court.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks

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.

Victoria Wicks

The Keystone XL pipeline is at issue once again, this time in a South Dakota courtroom. Opponents filed an appeal in 2016 after the Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead for the pipeline the previous year. On Wednesday in Pierre, a Sixth Circuit judge heard oral arguments in the case.

Opponents say the PUC didn't do its job to ensure that TransCanada can build a safe pipeline.

But the PUC and TransCanada say the outcome followed state law.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks traveled to Pierre to get this report.

Victoria Wicks file photo

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.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has stricken parts of a witness's testimony and exhibits in the application process for the Keystone XL pipeline. That action took place Thursday, Oct. 29, at the PUC's regular meeting. Cindy Myers is a registered nurse who says she followed PUC's instructions to prepare her testimony. But TransCanada attorney William Taylor says Myers violated rules of evidence. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Victoria Wicks

A witness called by TransCanada on Tuesday has been bumped to later in the week. Rick Perkins was called to provide rebuttal testimony to a witness for the Yankton Sioux Tribe, but that witness had not yet testified and therefore could not be rebutted.

Victoria Wicks

After a year and a half of hearings, motions, and filings, the Public Utilities Commission is taking testimony on whether to authorize TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline across South Dakota. The commission started taking opening statements from opponents and proponents Monday morning. It’s been an emotionally charged issue on both sides.