What is the Proper Authority of a Public Service Commission in Route Determinations?

Public Service Commissions, called Public Utilities Commissions in some States, have the right to determine and approve pipeline.

In South Dakota, a dissenting commissioner complained that the pipe was too close to the growth area of a community.

One must wonder whether this is within the discretion of the commissioner. Realistically, one must first look to whether the Commission has the authority to limit a proposed pipeline premised upon issues such as the routing, size of pipeline and size of easement. Each state has its own specific Constitutional and statutory delegation, so the decision in South Dakota may have been appropriate, but only if authorized by the law of the


”Commissioner Gary Hanson expressed disappointment in the corporation, however. He voted against the pipeline, saying that the company failed to meet its burden to build outside the immediate growth area of Harrisburg.

A substitute motion to deny the permit based on that issue failed 2-1.

The former Sioux Falls mayor told the commission that future Harrisburg residents will wonder why the PUC approved a pipeline one-quarter mile from the city’s growth area and along the route of a high-voltage power line when the company could change the route for “pennies on the dollar.”