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Upset Landowners Applaud Nebraskans

November 16, 2011, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Upset Landowners Applaud Nebraskans
BRITTON, SD - With a TransCanada Pipeline that would cross through western KELOLAND now on hold, landowners affected by an already installed pipeline say they wish their concerns had been addressed.

State leaders argue the people’s concerns were addressed.

A stretch of TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline now sits under eastern South Dakota land. As the company says it will reroute its newest proposed pipeline to avoid environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska, Kent Moeckly wishes the first pipeline had been rerouted to avoid his property.

"If we in South Dakota with our officials, the governor, the PUC could have only taken an interest through the people's eyes as they have done in Nebraska, it would have been so much different," Moeckly said.

But the Public Utilities Commission says it did take people's concerns into account. It held hearings in five different locations; one of them lasted seven hours.

And when commissioners granted a permit, they required TransCanada to follow nearly 70 additional conditions. Some of those came as a result of what the public wanted.

But Moeckly is not convinced. He says he was disappointed with the state's leadership and says they looked the other way.

"I'm so proud of the Nebraskans because they have really said ‘no, we're going to take a look at this project and we're going to see if it's safe for us and safe for our environment,’" Moeckly said.

The South Dakota PUC argues it took steps to protect the environment as well. Commissioners say most of the nearly 70 extra regulations were related to safety for the public and the environment.

The PUC also says it must follow the law and can't make decisions based on wanting a pipeline or not. And there weren't facts that would have prevented them from granting a permit.

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