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Trudeau Welcomes Third Pipeline in Two Months, as KXL receives nod from Trump

Today, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum that gave the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline a presidential approval, while at the same time approving the streamlining of the environmental permitting processes that Trump qualified as “cumbersome, long and horrible”. This reminds us of Harper’s strategy of gutting environmental legislation in Canada at the behest of the oil industry to streamline the approval of pipeline projects, a strategy that eventually led to the rise of the Idle No More movement.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr explained that all the permits have been issued on the Canadian side of the border for the Keystone XL pipeline and that federal cabinet warmly welcomes this announcement.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be 1,900 km long and would go from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City Nebraska, crossing into the U.S. in southwestern Saskatchewan.

The Keystone XL pipeline proposal is the third export pipeline that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has supported in the last two months despite strong evidence that pipelines aren’t needed, will contribute to expanding the tar sands, and will prevent us from reaching our climate goals. This further reinforces the failure of the Trudeau government’s climate aspirations that are now literally only a pipe dream.

The Indigenous Environmental Network in the U.S. had this to say about today’s announcement:

“These actions by President Trump are insane and extreme, and nothing short of attacks on our ancestral homelands as Indigenous peoples. The executive orders demonstrate that this administration is more than willing to violate federal law that is meant to protect Indigenous rights, human rights, the environment and the overall safety of communities for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry. These attacks will not be ignored, our resistance is stronger now than ever before and we are prepared to push back at any reckless decision made by this administration.”

Furthermore, as the Bold Nebraska release states, despite these executive orders, “There are still substantial obstacles, and the pipeline is not likely to be built anytime soon.” Jane Kleeb, President of Bold Alliance stated on Facebook that TransCanada still has many obstacles to cross, including eminent domain on the lands of many farmers in Nebraska, as well as a Nebraska review of the pipeline proposal, and foreseeable court challenges linked to some of this would definitely see any process pushed back to at least 2018.

At a time when we learn that the B.C. liberals received hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate donations from Kinder Morgan, and with the arrival of a climate denying government literally run by the oil industry in the United States, we must remind ourselves that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s own inner circle has close ties to the oil industry.  More specifically, Senior Advisor to PM Trudeau Cyrus Reporter has previously lobbied on behalf of BP Canada, Nexen and Syncrude, 3 major oil companies, and let us not forget the debacle that had Dan Gagnier quit Trudeau’s team during the election after reports emerged that he was working for TransCanada at the same time as advising the Prime Minister.

It is a time for us to insist that the liberal government of Justin Trudeau rid itself of his oil advisors, abandon the folly of pipeline politics, and embrace the prospect of a clean energy economy that is divorced from oil.

The Council of Canadians continues to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and local communities who will disproportionately bear the brunt of the impacts of the pipelines if they are built, and that will continue to fight day in and day out to block these projects.