Wednesday, March 08, 2017 7:57 p.m. CST by
PIERRE, S.D. (KSFY-TV / KELO-AM) – While protests against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota have captured headlines for the past year, a new fight is brewing against a different pipeline.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been in limbo for years. The company behind, Trans Canada, it wants to get the project moving forward.
With banners, flags and peace, South Dakotans rallied outside of the Hughes County Courthouse Wednesday. “This is basically just bringing a gathering of people here to that are against what is going on in our state, which is taking private property for cooperate personal gain,” John Harter said.
Harter, chairman of Dakota Rural Action, told KSFY-TV’s Carlos Gonzalez that he is also a rancher who will be affected the construction of the pipeline…The activist and rancher’s group asserts the state’ Public Utilities Commission didn’t follow through on requirements for updates on the project.
“Article 17 section four of the State Constitution says that we cannot give private property and give it to corporations and vice versa,” Harter said.
Wednesday’s rally came before a court hearing involving a lawsuit against the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and its approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. “There was simply a promise that they would four years after that they got their original permit, and now six plus, they have not presented to our PUC updated construction plans for review by the PUC with the public having input,” Dakota Rural Action attorney Bruce Ellison said.
Opponents of the pipeline say Trans Canada has not met the conditions it said it would when applying for the permit.
“What we want to basically prove is that the rule of law in South Dakota really matters, and we need to make sure that we can’t be following the laws they pick and choose, we need to follow them all,” Harter said.
Despite what happens in the courthouse, opponents said their fight is not over.
The court hearing involving the lawsuit against Keystone XL pipeline has continued into the evening.