Pipeline politics spill into South Dakota

TransCanada President and Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling. REUTERS/Mike Sturk

TransCanada President and Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling. REUTERS/Mike Sturk

Jessica Murphy, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:32 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Another possible setback looms for the delayed Keystone XL pipeline.

On Sunday, the project's four-year-old construction permit in South Dakota comes up for renewal — bureaucratic housekeeping that needs to be done before any pipe is laid in the midwestern state.

The state's public utilities commission issued the permit in 2010 with 50 conditions to boost environmental, landowner and emergency response protections, and a June 29, 2014, construction deadline.

Commission chairman Gary Hanson compares the permit recertification process to renewing a licence plate.

But nothing is straightforward when it comes to the political lightning rod that is Keystone XL.

For the pipeline's foes, this opens up a new front in the war against the $5.4-billion TransCanada project, which would send crude from Alberta's oilsands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.


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