TransCanada first appeared in the state in the spring of 2008, contacting landowners about the fact that a pipeline would be crossing their land. Soon thereafter, under the threat of eminent domain by TransCanada, these ranchers and farmers contacted Dakota Rural Action (DRA) for help in organizing against this threat. DRA has been there all along, assisting DRA members in their testimony at hearings with the Department of State and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) permit hearings.

In those early days there were no thoughts of stopping Keystone XL; instead, DRA’s position was that we were working to obtain the safest possible pipeline. Since that time we have learned through meetings with the indigenous people of Alberta (First Nations) of the threats to the environment from tarsands development. The First Nations and the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota nations met, along with DRA members, to draw up the “Mother Earth Accord,” which seeks to stop tarsands development. DRA was one of the first signatories of this accord.

Many of the landowners crossed by the Keystone XL route are members of Dakota Rural Action, and have continued to direct the organization’s actions regarding the pipeline. Based on new knowledge and new alliances, landowners have shifted DRA’s position on the pipeline over time.

Dakota Rural Action and the landowners feel tarsands development should be halted. DRA will work toward the PUC denying the recertification of the Keystone XL permit at the upcoming permit hearings.

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