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Landowners Say Pipeline Project Comment Period Too Short

November 21, 2008

Buffalo, SD - Western and Central South Dakota farmers and ranchers who are lying in the path of a major oil pipeline expansion project are raising concerns that the deadline for commenting on a presidential permit application is too short. TransCanada Corporation submitted the application for the Keystone X-L Pipeline project to the secretary of state November 4, triggering a 30-day comment period.

Harding County Rancher Dave Niemi says with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, very little time remains for landowners to respond.

"That's going to squeeze that window down so that, instead of 30 days, it'll be less than a 20-day period. We think the new administration should also have the ability to do a review on this before any permit is granted."

Project proponents say the pipeline will provide a safe and secure source of crude oil for the United States. But Niemi worries any environmental and other liability issues will be the landowner's responsibility. His biggest concern is allowing a foreign company to come into the United States and take control of private property.

"They'll have the property or take control of it and yet those of us who are here that have been on this for three generations or longer, we’re still going to be required to pay the taxes and do the upkeep. A foreign company is coming in here making a profit and they're going to be doing it at our expense."

Affected landowners and those who oppose the project are requesting a reissuing of the permit notice in the federal register and an additional 90-day comment period. The Keystone X-L pipeline would carry Canadian tar sands oil from Canada through South Dakota to refineries located along the Gulf Coast and in Texas.

David Law, Public News Service - SD