Eariler this week, the South Dakota Water Management Board approved 5 water permit applications for Keystone XL pipeline construction.

The highly conentious hearing stretched some 12 days and spanned the course of 4 months, with arguments posed by enviornmental groups and American Indigenous.

Following a brief period for public comment Tuesday, the board met in a closed executive session before ultimately voting to approve the permits, but added requirements for real-time monitoring along with weekly state check-ins.

While opponents can appeal the board's decision, they had not responsed to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment at the time of this writing.

The board allowed three minutes for each person who wanted to comment before the executive session.

The company building the pipeline (TC Energy) applied for permits to tap the Cheyenne, White and Bad rivers in South Dakota during the construction process.

Water from these sources would be used for drilling to install pipe, the construction of pump stations, as well as controlling dust during construction.

TC Energy spokeswoman Sara Rabern said in an emailed statement "We are pleased that the SD Water Management Board has approved our applications and we look forward to working with the State of South Dakota as we move forward with this project."

Rabern further stated there are no other permits needed in South Dakota for TC Energy (previously TransCanada) to begin construction.

When completed, Keystone XL would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day in a 1,905-kilometre line from Alberta to Nebraska.

An expert overseeing the pipeline's construction said building should begin this summer.

img: TC Energy