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SD PUC to Reconsider Emergency Plan Discovery Request

October 1, 2009

Dusty Johnson, the Chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), has asked the Commission to look again at the issue of the Emergency Response Plan for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The PUC will meet on Oct. 6, 2009 at 9:30 am CT.

You can listen to the meeting live over the web through the PUC website.

On September 23, the PUC met to discuss Dakota Rural Action’s motion to compel TransCanada, the proposed pipeline’s developer, to provide more information about safety issues, including the Emergency Response Plan. 

At the September 23 meeting, the Commission granted in part and denied in part DRA’s Request for Further Discovery. On September 29, 2009, Chairman Johnson filed a request that the Commission reconsider its earlier decision and make documents central to TransCanada’s preparation of its Emergency Response Plan available as part of discovery.

The Emergency Response Plan will describe what should happen in case of a pipeline accident, such as an explosion, leak, or fire. Because the Keystone XL pipeline would go through remote areas of South Dakota where only small volunteer fire departments would be immediately available to deal with pipeline accidents, the Plan is of keen interest to rural communities.

Citizens aren’t allowed to participate in the federal government’s creation of the Emergency Response Plan, so it’s critical that the PUC fully engage in the creation of the Plan and judge whether the Plan is adequate before deciding whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

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