Writing for Capital Journal, Consumer Energy Alliance Executive Vice President Michael Whatley argues that the recertification of the Keystone XL Pipeline by the South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission will bring Americans one step closer to gaining the enormous benefits of the project:
Congressional Republicans have long pushed for construction of Keystone XL and have vowed to enact legislation that would take the decision to approve the pipeline out of the hands of the State Department and green light the project. Odds of this legislation moving out of the Senate improved greatly with the Republican wave in this month’s elections – which replaced four Senators who have voted against the project with incoming members who have pledged to support it. Although spokesmen for the Obama Administration have indicated that the President is opposed to a legislative bypass of the State Department’s review, its passage will place significant pressure on the President to either sign the bill or finalize the administrative review of the project and grant the permit.
Although the political machinations regarding the federal permit necessary for Keystone XL to move forward have dominated the headlines, there is another approval that the project needs, and it is right here in South Dakota.
In 2010, the state PUC granted TransCanada, the company seeking to build the Keystone XL, a permit to construct a 313-mile section of the project through nine rural counties in South Dakota. However, because construction of the pipeline did not begin within the four years of the permit being issued, TransCanada recently filed to recertify the route.
The criteria for regaining recertification are simple and straightforward: the present-day conditions of the project must mirror those under which the permit was first granted on 2010. They certainly do. Therefore, the PUC’s decision should also be simple and straightforward: approve the recertification.