There are no steps left for the South Dakota Public Utility Commission to take

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe established a Spirit Camp in March 2014 along the now rejected route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. On November 6, 2015, President Obama denied TransCanada’s application for a permit to allow construction to cross the Canadian border. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe hosted a public celebration on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the SGU Multipurpose building in Mission, SD. Photo by Vi Waln.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe established a Spirit Camp in March 2014 along the now rejected route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. On November 6, 2015, President Obama denied TransCanada’s application for a permit to allow construction to cross the Canadian border. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe hosted a public celebration on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the SGU Multipurpose building in Mission, SD. Photo by Vi Waln.

By Vi Waln

Kudos to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe for hosting an awesome celebration to acknowledge many of the organizations, tribal programs and countless individuals who stepped forward in the fight against the now rejected Keystone XL pipeline (KXL). It’s hard to describe the feeling of knowing you have been a part of making history. All pipeline fighters stood strong with their prayers in the battle against TransCanada. This is something our unborn generations will remember long after we are gone.

TransCanada’s monster KXL pipeline is dead. The black snake is defeated. Yet, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) stubbornly continues on with their certification process for TransCanada. Maybe TransCanada and the PUC missed something. I’m not sure if they are just uninformed or if they are just willfully wasting everyone’s time. Obviously, TransCanada and the PUC are both oblivious to the fact that President Obama denied the Presidential Permit application. Or maybe the PUC is in bed with big oil, just like a lot of other elected officials are.

Maybe we should all email or call the PUC to inform them that on November 6, President Obama stated: “After extensive public outreach and consultation with other Cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision.”

Those of us who live in South Dakota are really not surprised at the actions of our PUC. Many of our elected officials, as well as private citizens, are arrogant enough to carry on as if the State Department and President Obama were still considering granting a permit to TransCanada. Without the permit allowing KXL to cross an international border, the project will not happen.

The intervenors in the TransCanada permitting process, which has been under review by the PUC for several years, filed a motion to dismiss the case on November 9. They stated, in part:

Because TransCanada failed to commence construction of the Project within four years of the date of the 2010 permit. . . it was required to file a petition with the Commission
Certifying that it could continue to meet the conditions upon which the 2010 permit was
Issued. Condition No. 1 requires TransCanada to comply with all applicable laws and rules. Condition No. 2 of the 2010 permit specifically provides that Keystone shall obtain
And thereafter comply with all applicable federal, state and local permits, including but not limited to: Presidential Permit from the United States Department of State.

Still, TransCanada responded almost immediately with objections to the motion for dismissal, stating:

There are no further necessary steps for the [PUC] to take other than to decide whether to accept Keystone’s certification. . . Having elected not to respond to Keystone’s proposed findings and conclusions other than by their joint motion, the movants appear motivated to delay the ultimate disposition of this docket, which was opened on September 15, 2014, and they should not be allowed to succeed. Keystone therefore respectfully requests that the joint motion be denied and that the [PUC] act on its certification petition.
Again, President Obama denied the permit application. The action by the President of the United States should be evidence enough that there are “no further necessary steps for the Commission to take.”

Only in South Dakota will you witness elected officials deny a decision issued by the President of the United States.

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