You may have heard the recent news that the Keystone XL zombie pipeline is being resurrected…. again. This time TransCanada, in this announcement, is proposing to split the Keystone XL pipeline into 2. The ‘U.S. Gulf Coast’ portion will be pursued and, conveniently, does not require a Presidential Permit (what helped stop the full project in January). The other portion of the pipeline will require a permit, forcing TransCanada to start this process all over again. Obama’s administration, in a classic case of political flip flopping, has welcomed the announcement and indicated they will take every step to expedite the federal permitting process.
What does this mean?
While the southern part of the pipeline to the Gulf Coast doesn’t require a Presidential Permit, TransCanada does have to secure land along the proposed route. There is already opposition along the route. “We’ve got tea party votes, we’ve got democrats, we’ve got republicans and independents, we have people of religion and people of all persuasions and we don’t care, you can’t drink oil,” says protest organizers Rita Beving in this video of Texas opposition to the pipeline put together by NRDC. In the video, landowner Julia Trigg Crawford makes her opposition clear, particularly the risks pipeline spills pose to water resources her farm depends on.
While TransCanada has resorted to using eminent domain to grab land from property owners, this opposition is going to grow in water scarce Texas. Nebraskans rejected the unique risks posed by transporting corrosive bitumen and grassroots organizing amongst Texans and other opponents to the pipeline are already underway.
The Council of Canadians continues to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline – in one piece or two. Keystone XL, alongside the Enbridge Gateway pipeline and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project will drive further unsustainable expansion in the tar sands. Transporting corrosive bitumen presents unique spill risks to lands and water. The Harper government remains committed to becoming an energy superpower, promoting these export projects without addressing the devastation of the tar sands. We will continue to work with U.S. allies to expose our government’s intentions, the reality of the tar sands and support efforts to protect water sources from tar sands spills and a healthy climate for future generations.