There was still snow on the ground on April 1, 2016, when Joye Braun set up the lodge that would serve as her temporary home for almost a year. It was on land near the convergence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers, at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Braun’s structure was the first erected in the famous Sacred Stone Camp — the original encampment at Standing Rock established to protest construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. She remained an important presence throughout the duration of the protests, serving as a key leader and an inspiration to thousands of people who came to join the resistance to the pipeline. When the camp finally dispersed in February 2017, Braun’s temporary home was one of the last structures to come down. Braun passed away on Nov. 13, 2022, at age 53.
In a shocking move, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline has announced it will no longer move forward with the project. The controversial pipeline has been at the center of a fight over Indigenous treaties, land rights, and the permitting process. Now, it’s dead. TC Energy, the company behind the pipeline project, announced that on Wednesday that “after a comprehensive review of its options, and in consultation with its partner, the Government of Alberta, it has terminated the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.” The project’s permits were rejected by former President Barack Obama, reinstated by former President Donald Trump, and rescinded again by President Joe Biden on his first day in office.
When President Biden rescinded a crucial permit for the Keystone XL pipeline last week, it marked the culmination of one of the longest, highest-profile campaigns in the North American climate movement. The opposition to Keystone XL included large environmental organizations, grassroots climate activist networks, Nebraska farmers, Texas landowners, Indigenous rights groups and tribal governments. Few environmental campaigns have touched so many people over such large swaths of the continent. The Keystone XL resistance was part of the ongoing opposition to the Canadian tar sands, one of the most carbon-intensive industrial projects on the planet.
President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly planning on the day of his inauguration to rescind a federal permit allowing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States, a move environmentalists said would represent an immense victory for the planet attributable to years of tireless Indigenous-led opposition to the dirty-energy project. CBC News reported Sunday that "the words 'Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit' appear on a list of executive actions supposedly scheduled for Day One of Biden's presidency," which begins with his swearing-in on Wednesday. The withdrawal of the Keystone XL permit is among several environment-related actions Biden plans to take via executive order during his first day in office, a list that includes rejoining the Paris climate accord.
As many Trump supporters who stormed the nation’s Capitol appear poised to evade punishment, two young Native Americans from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota have been arrested and charged for peacefully protesting construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline (KXL). Jasilyn Charger (24) and Oscar High Elk (30) were booked by law enforcement after independent protest actions. The two are among a group of tribal members who have formed a resistance encampment on their reservation, near where the long-disputed pipeline would pass, should it be completed. “At a time when white rioters are being let off the hook after raiding the nation’s Capitol and driving legislators into hiding, Native Americans and other people of color are still being dealt harsh criminal charges for...
The final weeks of the Trump administration have been frenzied for oil and gas pipeline companies. On November 24, Enbridge — the largest pipeline developer in North America — filed a lawsuit to block Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from shutting down one of its major projects, swiftly announcing on the same day plans to move ahead with construction on Line 3 in neighboring Minnesota. That whiplash could be an indication of the fights to come with a Biden administration pulled between executive ties to the fossil fuel industry, activists who insist the president-elect deliver on...
The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge's rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration's attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline. While the ruling was not a total victory for the climate—the high court said other pipeline projects can proceed as environmental reviews are conducted—green groups applauded the delay of Keystone XL construction as further confirmation of their view that the Canada-owned pipeline will never be built thanks to legal obstacles and fierce grassroots opposition.
On April 15, Judge Brian Morris nullified water-crossing permits in Montana that were granted for the Keystone XL, a major setback for the long-embattled tar sands oil pipeline. The ruling came just days after Keystone XL owner TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, obtained billions of dollars in subsidies from the Alberta government as global oil prices plummeted. The oil and gas industry has taken notice. Seemingly just a ruling on Keystone XL — the subject of opposition by the climate movement for the past decade — the ruling could have far broader implications for the future of building water-crossing pipelines and utility lines. In his decision, Judge Morris cited a potential violation of the Endangered Species Act when he ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do a deeper analysis of potential impacts to protected species.
Great Falls, MT — A federal judge today ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law when it approved Nationwide Permit 12, a water-crossing permit critical for TC Energy’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and many other pipelines nationwide. The ruling invalidates Nationwide Permit 12, prohibiting the Corps from using this fast-tracked approval process for any pipelines nationwide, including Keystone XL. The ruling could also block construction through hundreds of water crossings along the Keystone XL pipeline route. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by conservation and landowner groups last year that challenged the Corps’ failure to adequately analyze the effects of pipelines authorized under Nationwide Permit 12, including Keystone XL, on local waterways, lands, wildlife and communities.
Keystone Leaks 383,000 Gallons In North Dakota On The Same Day As Trump State Department’s Pipeline Hearing
The Keystone pipeline, that carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven states, leaked more than 383,000 gallons of oil according to North Dakota regulators. The company has promised the spill has been contained but the cause is still unknown. The leak was noticed on Tuesday and the pipeline has been shut down since, but its damage spread 1,500 feet long by 15 feet wide. State Environmental Quality Chief Dave Glatt stated some wetlands were affected but not any drinking water sources.
Great Falls, MT— Conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ illegal approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to be constructed through hundreds of rivers, streams, and wetlands without evaluating the project’s impacts as required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act. The groups also sent notices of their intent to sue President Donald Trump, the Army Corps, and the companies seeking to build Keystone XL and its power-line infrastructure over the project’s lethal threats to endangered species, including the whooping crane.
NAPER, Nebraska — Standing on the banks of the Keya Paha River where it cuts through his farm, Bob Allpress points across a flat expanse of sand to where a critical shut-off valve is supposed to rise from the Keystone XL pipeline once it's buried in his land. The Keya Paha flooded several weeks ago, and when it did, the rush of newly melted water drove debris, sand and huge chunks of ice deep inland, mowing down trees and depositing a long wall of ice 6 feet high and 30 feet wide across Allpress's property.
The Keystone XL pipeline is expected to draw protests from indigenous and environmental activists when construction begins, and many activists are worried law enforcement agencies may be planning surveillance and a militarized response. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is accusing federal agencies of trying to hide the extent of these preparations, which the group says are clearly underway. The ACLU and its Montana affiliate sued several federal agencies this week, including the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security, saying the agencies are withholding documents that discuss planning for the expected protests and any coordination among state and local authorities and private security contractors. Fears about the law enforcement response follow the 2016 armed crackdown on people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, where authorities used tear gas and turned water cannons on protesters in freezing temperatures.
Lower Brule, SD — Today, a federal court ruled the State Department must conduct an environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska. Last November, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a “Mainline Alternative” route for the pipeline through the state. Tribes and landowners have since challenged the PSC decision. The federal court ruling is a strong affirmation of their claims and an impediment to the TransCanada corporation pipeline. In one of his first acts in office, President Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline, previously scrapped by President Obama due to serious environmental, climate and legal concerns. Communities across the country have taken to the streets to protest the decision, and more than 17,000 people have signed the “Promise to Protect,” committing to action along the proposed route for Keystone XL if called upon by Indigenous leaders.
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.