Map shows the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route.

The Pennington County Commission approved a haul route agreement Tuesday governing TC Energy’s use of county roads during the construction of the company’s proposed Keystone XL crude-oil pipeline.

The written agreement is the product of lengthy talks between the county and TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada. The company has similar agreements with other counties for construction activities related to the proposed pipeline, which has yet to clear legal hurdles preventing the project’s commencement. The pipeline would pass through western South Dakota en route from Canada to Nebraska.

Terms of the agreement with Pennington County designate portions of Elm Springs Road and 1416/Liberty Boulevard as haul roads for the movement of TC Energy’s equipment, supplies and materials within the county.

The agreement generally requires TC Energy to make any necessary improvements to the roads and to keep them in good condition through the end of the construction project.

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TC Energy has already said it will miss the 2019 construction season. Pennington County Highway Superintendent Joseph Miller said Tuesday that some pipeline pre-construction activities could occur this fall, with construction tentatively scheduled for next year.

In other business conducted Tuesday at the County Administration Building, the commissioners:

  • Heard a presentation from representatives of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development about a state program that awards sales and use tax dollars to counties for permitting livestock development projects.
  • Approved a resolution to authorize refinancing, at a savings of $700,000, of some approximately 10-year-old debt from construction of the county’s Administration Building.
  • Approved the creation of 10 new positions for the county’s new Care Campus, including detox technicians, counselors, a clinical supervisor and a nurse, all of which Sheriff Kevin Thom said will be funded by state treatment funds.
  • Approved the writing of a letter of recommendation to support the Green Valley Sanitation District’s applications for state funds to install a sewer system.
  • Approved, on a 3-2 vote with commissioners Mark DiSanto and Lloyd LaCroix voting “no,” the rezone of about 21 acres along U.S. Highway 16 at Rockerville from a general agriculture district to a highway service district, for applicant Borglum Historical Center Inc., which is registered to Duane Pankratz.

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Contact Seth Tupper at seth.tupper@rapidcityjournal.com

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Enterprise Reporter

Enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal and author of "Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills."