The Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline project of TC Energy is back, after president Donald Trump gave the go signal to Secretary David Bernhardt of the U.S. Department of Interior to allow preparations for the oil delivery system to begin this month.
This recent push for the contentious $8 billion project comes, despite pending legal challenges filed in courts by environmental activists and organized groups of Native American indigenous tribes.
Currently, miles of pipes for the Keystone Pipeline are already stacked in a public field near Ripley, Oklahoma. They will be used in building a pipeline network starting from Alberta, Canada, where tar sands will be pumped in to Steele City in Nebraska; to subsequently flow as oil into pipelines that will reach oil terminals in the Gulf of Mexico, ready for export to other countries .
The pipeline network cuts through about 1,200 miles of U.S. land including protected Native American territories; allowing TC Energy to expand the reach of its international oil exporting system. The KXL Pipeline project is all set to begin this month as preparations for construction are already underway in Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Why Many are Opposed to TC Energy’s Keystone XL Project?
TC Energy proposed the Keystone XL pipeline project back in 2010, but was blocked by multiple legal challenges filed in courts by environmental protection groups and alliances of Native American tribes. In 2011, President Obama deferred approval of the project and had asked a more thorough analysis of the potential impact and risks posed by tar sands on the environm
After all, tar sand is branded by science experts as the most dangerous component in the production of oil. Scientists call it the “dirtiest form of fossil fuel” because it yields toxic by-products, and is capable of producing greater carbon emissions when burned. Moreover, experts say tar sand is the most difficult to clean in case of spillages. Even environment activists in Alberta, Canada blame the tar sand industry for the rapid depredation of Canada’s boreal forests.
The year 2015 saw Republican legislators attempting to force the issue by approving a bill that would allow the Keystone XL’s proposed project to move ahead. President Obama vetoed the bill, which immediately prevented TC Energy from cutting trees in preparation for the pipeline project.
However, TC Energy’s federal application remained on hold, apparently waiting for a “changing of the guards,” so to speak. Finally, and after years of waiting, the Canadian oil company got the support it needed in the person of Donald Trump. Upon Trump’s assumption of office as the new president of the U.S., among his first set of executive orders he signed included the revival of all pipeline projects previously stalled by activists movements.
After emerging triumphant from the recent impeachment trial, Trump immediately ordered the State Department and other related federal agencies to grant the Keystone XL project permits that would allow the Canadian pipeline project to cross the border and build the pipeline network across U.S. lands and waterways.
Still, the alliance of Native American tribes, the Fort Belknap Indian Community, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Native American Rights Fund are ready to continue their legal fight. This time, their legal challenge includes violations of treaties to which the federal government made a commitment to care for and protect the ancestral lands of American Native tribes.