Tribes, activists protest Keystone permit in SD

A coalition of landowners, tribal leaders, and activists are protesting the Keystone XL oil pipeline's route through South Dakota this week.

The No KXL Dakota coalition is pushing back against renewing pipeline developer TransCanada's permit for the section of the $8 billion oil sands project that goes through the state.

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The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will meet on Tuesday to hear a motion to dismiss the permit renewal application filed by the Yankton Sioux Tribe.

Members of the broader coalition, make up a number of the 40 parties that were granted status to intervene in the pipeline's permit renewal process in South Dakota.

“The movement to stop the Keystone pipeline is growing in South Dakota,” said Joye Braun, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member and activist.

“We will continue in our efforts to build resistance to this project knowing that we will succeed," Braun added.

The coalition will hold two protests on Monday leading up to the Tuesday commission meeting on the pipeline's permit.

In response to the protests, TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said the company has been working with South Dakota tribes to "constructively and proactively address any concerns" with the pipeline.

"We recognize there are some strong feeling about the pipeline by some members of the tribal communities. We share a deep respect for the land and we deal with the concerns expressed by tribes and other landowners respectfully," Cooper added.

In October, TransCanada accepted the commission's decision to grant roughly 40 interveners party status.

"TransCanada welcomes a thorough vetting of all issues of interest to the commission and participation by those who have direct interest in those issues," TransCanada said.