Permit for Keystone XL denied by Obama administration

by Alys Granados

Last week, the Obama administration announced that TransCanada’s request to build the Keystone XL pipeline would be denied. The pipeline would have carried oil from the Alberta tar sands to Texas oil refineries.  The Keystone XL was met with great opposition from various environmental organizations, due to the associated CO2 emissions, the potential for oil spills, and the fragmentation of ecosystems associated with its construction, such as the Nebraska Sand Hills. Species that would have been affected there include bison, the greater prairie chicken, sage grouse, and sandhill cranes, which are already threatened by other forms of human disturbance.

Sierra Club Canada Executive Director, John Bennett, called Obama’s announcement “a victory for the environment and future generations”.

In response to Obama’s decision, TransCanada released a statement that the corporation remains committed to building the pipeline and will reapply for a permit from the United States, using a different route for its construction.

If you are opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline, you can still let President Obama know by signing a petition on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) website.

TransCanada has invested a lot in this project and it is not dead yet. The section of pipeline refered to as Phase 4 is the part that has drawn ire, some other parts are already permitted & some completed. 

See this article from Jan/Feb issue of The Walrus for a Canadian (used to be Nebraskan) about TransCanada. 

Excerpted from that article: "In June 2010, TransCanada completed phase one of the pipeline, which runs through eastern Nebraska, facing only murmurs of opposition. But phase four, farther to the west, is slated to cross the ecologically sensitive Sandhills, and the Ogallala Aquifer, the major source of drinking and irrigation water for much of the Great Plains. Although TransCanada has maintained an office of 100 or so employees in Omaha since the 1980s — and has put the entire Keystone XL project through a rigorous environmental assessment — its refusal to reroute phase four has galvanized Nebraskans, who feel the company is flexing its economic and lobbying muscle to steamroll local concerns." 

            

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