S.D. board grants water permits to Keystone XL

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Keystone Pipeline General

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Water Management Board approved permits for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline to use water from three South Dakota rivers Tuesday.

Keystone XL applied to draw water from the Cheyenne, White and Bad rivers in western South Dakota.

TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, plans to build the pipeline to carry crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta, across the Canada-U.S. border through Montana, South Dakota and most of Nebraska, where it would connect to an existing network at Steele City.

The water in South Dakota would be used during construction.

State Engineer Jeanne Goodman had recommended the South Dakota permits be granted, with conditions, to the project, and to two ranch operations, Wink Cattle Company and Tom and Lori Wilson, whose existing wells would be expanded as backup sources.

Dakota Rural Action, several tribal governments including the Yankton Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux and Rosebud Sioux, and various others had formally intervened to oppose the applications.

The opponents now can appeal the board’s decisions to court.

The six board members went into executive session at 11:10 a.m. and returned to the meeting room at 12:54 p.m.

The room at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center was nearly empty because people from each side were out having lunch. Board members spent the unexpected free time talking with the few people in the room and looking at the center’s photos and other displays.

Chairman Jim Hutmacher of Oacoma called the board back into session at 1:29 p.m.

Member Rodney Freeman of Huron recommended approval of the Cheyenne River permit.

Real-time monitoring of withdrawals from the Cheyenne at the pump site and related reporting requirements were added at the request of member Ev Hoyt of Rapid City.

The board also agreed to allow a total diversion of 238.21 acre feet of water from the Cheyenne at the suggestion of member Tim Bjork of Pierre.

The board also required downstream monitoring of flow on the Cheyenne, suggested by Hoyt.

“I believe the wording is consistent with other qualifications,” Ann Mines Bailey, a lawyer for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, told the board.

The board adopted the Cheyenne conditions.

Freeman next recommended allowing the pipeline to draw water from the White River, with the chief engineer’s conditions.

Real-time monitoring of withdrawals and related reporting requirements; a total diversion of 223.68 acre-feet of water; and downstream monitoring of flow were added by the board as additional conditions for the White.

The board then adopted the White’s conditions.

Freeman recommended allowing the pipeline to draw water from the Bad River, with the chief engineer’s conditions.

Real-time monitoring of withdrawals and related reporting requirements; a limit on the total diversion of 50.44 acre feet; and monitoring of flow were added by the board as additional conditions for the Bad.

The board then adopted the Bad’s conditions. The board also approved the two ranches’ well expansions, with additional conditions that water-use be monitored at the work camps.

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