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Dakota Access opponents get day in front of PUC

Linda Goulet, her siblings and other Lincoln County pipeline opponents traveled to Pierre Oct. 6 to testify in front of the state Public Utilities Commission about the Dakota Access pipeline.

Goulet said they all had their chance to speak in front of the commission. However, she said the pipeline refused to hear their rebuttal statements. She also said their concerns were not taken seriously by the pipeline.

“Unfortunately we were made fun of by the pipeline. We were put down for being the Chicken Little, the sky is falling types of thing,” Goulet said. “We did get to share, for the most part, what our concerns were.”

For the members of their group that were unable to be in Pierre Oct. 6, they did have the chance to express their views via telephone Oct. 7. On Oct. 6, they did not start their testimony until after two witnesses from the Native American tribes were finished sharing their concerns.

In addition to Goulet and Lincoln County opponents, others in attendance included the PUC and its legal staff, Dakota Access and its legal staff, three Native American reservations and their representation, Dakota Rural Action and a city of Sioux Falls attorney.

Goulet said she felt like they were heard by the PUC. She was concerned that the pipeline said area towns like Tea, Harrisburg and Hartford had given the approval for the pipeline but none of those towns had a representative at the hearing. She was also concerned that even if the pipeline does go through that Bakken oil will still be hauled on railcars.

She hopes that the PUC will do an environmental study that one of the tribe’s was calling for. She thought PUC commissioner Gary Hanson was in favor of doing a study.

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