If that is the case, what was the purpose of the meeting? PUC Chairman Chris Nelson says the hearing will help commissioners formulate questions during the pipeline process. Apparently this will be followed with an "evidentiary hearing" and the final decision will only depend on testimony and evidence presented at that hearing.
The SD PUC appears to be complicit in dog and pony shows designed primarily to give the impression if not the reality that they give a rat's ass about the public interest. The commissioners should be held personally responsible if they approve a pipeline with pipe made in India and designs only made to specifications perhaps 90% leak free. That just is not good enough when these pipelines cross rivers and aquifers critical to drinking water resources in South Dakota.
The South Dakota Governor's office and the legislature have resisted taxing these pipelines to build up an environmental protection plan. This strikes me as severe, serious dereliction of duty.
With all the newspaper and TV ads Trans-Canada has been dumping into SD ostensibly to influence the easily influenced, but more likely to buy the silence of SD mass media, I was frankly surprised to see even the rather limp news story on the irrelevance of the SD PUC public input hearing in a SD newspaper.
Canada's Trans-Canada outfit was interviewed by Bloomberg News and stated that the primary purpose of the XL pipeline was to get a "glut of crude" out of the midwest so that fuel prices could be increased 10 to 15 cents per gallon. That does not suggest that the XL pipeline is in the interests of the US or South Dakota residents. The enormous tax benefits claimed in the pre-hearing hype has not turned up with other pipelines in reality. Also, the enormous energy demands of the pipeline are likely to increase electric costs for all homeowners in this region. We have already had electric rate increases in most of South Dakota. We really don't need more rate increases because of a pipeline that is not in the US interest.
County commissioners have been wined and dined and requested to send letters of support to the PUC and elsewhere to indicate their support for the pipeline. I am not at all convinced that is a legitimate function of county commissioners especially when none of them seem to have the faintest idea of the potential economic and environmental disaster possible with these pipelines or any engineering experience or education themselves. Their willingness to ignore actual constituent opinion and pander to a very special non-US special interest is very discouraging.
South Central South Dakota has really good drinking water and perhaps not a whole lot else that is really, really good. This resource should not be ignored or under-estimated.
***Stay tuned but don't wait until "Don't drink the water." becomes the local mantra---Doug Wiken