Begin Again: Keystone XL pipeline back before South Dakota regulators

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The Public Utilities Commission is considering whether to approve for the second time in just over five years construction of the South Dakota portion of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The hearing process started Monday. The state authorized TransCanada Corp.’s project in 2010, but permits must be revisited if construction doesn’t start within four years.

The commission is now considering the company’s guarantee that it can complete the project while meeting the conditions of the 2010 approval.

It’s unlikely the panel will make a decision immediately.

Supporters say the pipeline will create jobs and tax revenues, while opponents argue it could contaminate water supplies and contribute to pollution.

The pipeline would transport oil from Canada to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines headed to the Gulf Coast.

Separately, a hearing is scheduled today in Omaha, NB concerning a lawsuit that challenges TransCandada efforts. Landowners are questioning the validity of the state law that authorized TransCanada’s proposed route through the state for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The pipeline needs President Barack Obama’s approval before it could be built across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska to connect with existing pipelines. It would carry more than 33.6 million gallons of oil daily.

TransCanada has said that 90% of Nebraska landowners along the Keystone XL route — and all of those in Montana and South Dakota — have agreed to easements to build the pipeline.

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