Now that TransCanada’s permit to build the Keystone Export pipeline in South Dakota has expired, they are now having to go through the South Dakota Public Utitilies Commision’s application process again.  Despite objections by TransCanada, the South Dakota PUC granted party status to dozens of intervenors, including Bold Nebraska, Tribal Nations, Dakota Rural Action, South Dakota farmers, ranchers and citizens, native tribal members, and Nebraska farmers, ranchers and citizens.

TransCanada then attempted to limit discovery on the process, basically trying to narrow the discussion of their permit down to a very few subjects.  TransCanada didn’t want to talk about the Sandhills that extend from Nebraska up to South Dakota.  They didn’t want to talk about soil and groundwater conditions in shallow aquifer areas and sandy soils.  They definitely didn’t want to talk about emergency response, landowner rights, the nonexistent need for their pipeline or climate change.

On December 1st, Bold and several of the intervenors filed comments in response to TransCanada’ motion to limit discovery.  Most of the intervenors are regular folks, not attorneys.  They have stepped up, done their research, and put forth the effort to participate in the PUC process because they care.  We would like to commend Paul Seamans, John Harter, Vi Waln, Bob Gough, Gena Parkhurst, Elizabeth Lone Eagle, Joye Braun, Gary Doerr, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Nancy Hilding, Amy Schaffer, Bruce and Roxann Boettcher, Tom and Cathie Genung, Bonnie Kilmurry, Carolyn Smith, Cindy Myers, Byron (Stix) and Diana Steskal, Terry and Cheri Frisch, Art Tanderup and Wrexie Bardaglio for their willingness to participate and contribute their skills and knowledge in support of the rights of South Dakota citizens, tribes and landowners.

To read Bold Nebraska’s Response filed by Bold’s attorney Paul Blackburn, click here: 2014-12-01 Bold Response to TC Motion to Limit Discovery

In particular, Bold called for the South Dakota PUC to allow discovery on four key areas:

  • The effects of pipeline construction on county roads and road repair liability
  • The permeable Sand Hills and shallow High Plains aquifer
  • Leak detection technology, practice and compliance
  • Emergency Response

These are areas that Nebraskans have been dealing with for several years in our own county governments and Public Service Commission, and we feel we have the experience and information to help support South Dakota citizens in this process.

Many of the key points in Bold’s response are the results of years of hard work done by pipeline fighters who cared enough to do the hard work of reading through Environmental Impact Statements and legal documents, taking notes, and keeping records of their findings.  Bold Nebraska would like to thank all of the people–again, just regular folks–who have sent us information, called us with questions, and taken the initiative to stand up for land and water and exercise your rights as citizens.  We would also like to thank our attorney Paul Blackburn for sharing his expertise and for representing us well.

On December 9, the South Dakota PUC will hold another meeting and will likely make a decision on TransCanada’s motion to limit discovery.  The PUC will also determine a schedule for how the process will proceed in South Dakota.  Here are the details of the meeting, according to the South Dakota PUC:

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting

December 9, 2014, at 9:30 A.M. CST

Room 413, Capitol Building

Pierre, South Dakota

NOTE: If you wish to join this meeting by conference call, please contact the Commission at 605-773-3201 by 5:00 p.m. CST on Monday, December 8, 2014. Lines are limited and are given out on a first come, first served basis, subject to possible reassignment to accommodate persons who must appear in a proceeding. Ultimately, if you wish to participate in the Commission Meeting and a line is not available, you may have to appear in person. 

NOTE:  To listen to the Commission Meeting live please go to the PUC’s website www.puc.sd.gov and click on the LIVE link on the home page. The Commission requests persons who will only be listening to proceedings and not actively appearing in a case listen via the web cast to free phone lines for those who have to appear.  The Commission meetings are archived on the PUC’s website under the Commission Actions tab, Click on “Commission Meeting Archives,” to access the recordings.

NOTE: Notice is further given to persons with disabilities that this Commission meeting is being held in a physically accessible place. If you have special needs, please notify the Commission and we will make all necessary arrangements.