TC Energy plans to buy water from Buffalo to construct Keystone XL oil pipeline

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The town of Buffalo should have disclosed the purpose of its water application was to help the Keystone XL oil-pipeline project, according to opponents.

The South Dakota Water Management Board will hear the permit application later this week. The proceeding starts Thursday and could continue Friday.

Buffalo, the seat of Harding County, wants state government’s approval to take up to another 82 acre-feet of water from Hell Creek aquifer. The town already has a state permit for water from it.

State Engineer Jeanne Goodman has recommended the new permit.

Dakota Rural Action, represented by Rapid City attorney Bruce Ellison, and five individuals have intervened against granting the permit.

They claim that TC Energy has already obtained the water needed for the project in that area through a state permit to Tom and Lori Wilson, who are hosting a work camp on their ranch.

They also claim Buffalo officials improperly withheld information about TC Energy’s agreement to buy the additional Hell Creek aquifer’s water for the next two years.

The state board holds hearings Wednesday on two other permit applications. One involves a commercial user in the Rockerville area of Pennington County, who wants to tap the Crystalline Rock aquifer and is opposed by area homeowners who argue their wells work sporadically.

The hearings will be held under state government’s new COVID-19 protocol.

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