Above Photo: Flickr/ tarsandsaction
Pipeline fighters commit to continue resisting TransCanada’s alternate route for Keystone XL
Lower Brule, SD — Following oral arguments from Nebraska landowners last week, the Public Service Commission put another hurdle in TransCanada’s path today, denying the company’s request to amend their current application for Keystone XL to match the alternate route they were granted. TransCanada hoped to amend their existing application to avoid legal challenges, but Nebraskans urged commissioners to deny this request, noting the lack of consultation with communities living along the alternate route. This decision came after the PSC denied TransCanada’s preferred route for Keystone XL and granted an alternate route instead on November 20.
TransCanada has since faced additional hurdles. A federal judge ruled just days after the PSC decision that a lawsuit brought by community leaders in Nebraska against Trump’s ‘presidential permit’ for Keystone XL had standing to proceed. More than 14,000 people have signed onto the “Promise to Protect,” a call from Indigenous leaders and their allies to join future resistance along the Keystone XL route if the pipeline moved forward. Earlier this year, TransCanada also abandoned its Energy East pipeline in Canada following a years-long campaign against the project.
Resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline was reignited earlier this year when the Trump administration approved a national permit for the project, reversing former President Obama’s rejection of the pipeline. In Nebraska and South Dakota, Indigenous leaders, farmers, and ranchers installed solar arrays inside the pipeline route, putting clean energy in Keystone XL’s path. In August, this same coalition led hundreds on a march through the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska, and delivered thousands of comments to the Public Service Commission ahead of hearings on Keystone XL, urging commissioners to reject the pipeline.
Joye Braun, leader of the Wakpa Waste Camp at the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota:
“Denying TransCanada’s request to amend their application throws a lot of legal questions into the mix that can help our fight. The Tribes have said time and time again, ‘No KXL!’ — it doesn’t matter which route they choose. Look at what just happened in South Dakota, with the original Keystone leaking hundreds of thousands of gallons of tar sands across the planes. This is treaty territory, and we know TransCanada is bad for the land and water.”
May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director:
“Today’s decision is yet another delay for TransCanada, and there will be more as we continue resisting this pipeline. While Trump blows hot air about approving Keystone XL every chance he gets, more than nine months later, this pipeline is still in limbo. There’s a growing movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground ready to defeat Keystone XL and all proposed pipelines. If TransCanada ever does move forward, thousands of people have promised to do all we can to stop them.”
Rachel Rye Butler, Greenpeace Tar Sands Campaigner:
“Today’s decision will mean further uncertainty for TransCanada and the future of the dirty Keystone XL pipeline. True to the XL in its name, Keystone XL would present enormous risks to a safe climate, clean drinking water, and human rights. But the resistance to this pipeline is also extra large. Thousands of people are committed to standing in the way of this pipeline. This should send a clear message to TransCanada’s potential investors that there is a long, costly, and risk-filled road ahead for the Keystone XL pipeline.”
Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network Campaigner:
“The Public Service Commission’s decision opens up new challenges to TransCanada’s alternate route for Keystone XL This new route must not only evaluate private landowner concerns, it must also recognize the federal consultation process with affected tribal nations. This unlikely alliance of farmers, ranchers, tribes, and common citizens have not given up in this fight to protect the sacred integrity of Mother earth. And we will not give up, we will fight on to keep fossil fuels in the ground!”
Lewis Grassrope, leader of the Wiconi Un Tipi Camp at the Lower Brule Reservation:
“The decision the Public Service Commission has made today will cause delay, but there are still thousands of people praying and willing to come and stand to save our water and our land and the future for generations to come.”
Faith Spotted Eagle, Brave Heart Society & Chair of the Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee:
“Today’s decision in Nebraska means more time to stop TransCanada and their attack on Mother Earth. Keystone XL would destroy the heartland. Together with our allies we will stop TransCanada from profiting off our land and water at the expense of our people. Today the heartland smiles in its infinite wisdom.”