On November 10th the State Department announced it will delay the decision to grant a Presidential Permit to the Keystone XL pipeline until early 2013. Below is DRA’s press release, and links for more information:
Dakota Rural Action Applauds Decision to Delay Pipeline
Dakota Rural Action (DRA) applauds the decision by the Obama Administration to delay the Keystone XL Presidential Permit decision until 2013 to evaluate a better safer route around the Ogalalla Aquifer and Sand Hills. This delay will give officials the ability to offer this project the scrutiny it deserves. DRA urges the Administration to take this extra time to address other outstanding problems with its review of the project and proposed measures to ensure pipeline safety and protection of water, land and residents along the entire route.
“DRA has been trying to hold TransCanada accountable since they first announced the pipeline route,” says Paul Seamans, member of DRA and whose land is being crossed by the pipeline. “We organized South Dakotan landowners into a group forcing TransCanada to the negotiation table.”
“DRA had been working to get water quality concerns addressed for three years,” says Mr. Seamans, “it’s nice to know the Administration is listening.”
There are more issues that need to be addressed such as The Emergency Response Plan, the document used by local residents and first responders in the case of a spill, should be made available for public and local emergency personnel review. Currently, TransCanada must only provide a finalized ERP to emergency workers when construction has started, without any expert or third party input. The public should be able to review and comment on the plans prior to construction because they have intimate knowledge of the land and will likely be the first people to respond if something goes wrong.
Dakota Rural Action also urges that with this delay, TransCanada will hold off their aggressive pursuit to condemn South Dakotan land. With the extra time, we hope TransCanada will return to the negotiation table to address landowner’s concerns.
“The Administration’s decision to delay the Presidential Permit is an opportunity to take a step back and evaluate all aspects of this project,” says Mr. Seamans. “Many issues have not been addressed through the rush by TransCanada to get this pipeline built. Keystone 1 was rushed. Now there have been more than a dozen leaks and the pipeline has been shut down twice for safety and mechanical concerns. We don’t need the same mistake again.”
Dakota Rural Action is a grassroots family agriculture and conservation group that organizes South Dakotans to protect our family farmers and ranchers, natural resources, and unique way of life.