Enviros Prepare For Multi-Pronged Battle Against Revived Keystone Pipeline

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Activists are gearing up for another rousing multi-pronged fight against the recently revived Keystone XL Pipeline.

Environmentalists such as Sara Shor have promised to “raise hell” and recruit millions of people to fight the multi-billion dollar project. Activists also intend to bring the fight directly to lawmakers at town hall meetings along the project’s nearly 1,200-mile route.

“We’re going to continue to make Keystone XL a political issue and push every elected official to come out against this project if they care about communities, local rights, eminent domain, air, water and climate,” Shor, the campaign director for anti-fossil fuel group, told reporters Thursday.

TransCanada, the Canadian company behind the project, encountered fierce opposition from landowners and activists during its initial proposed route and successive legal challenges over the legality of maneuvering around plots of land eventually brought the project to a standstill. Former President Barack Obama rejected the project outright in 2014, arguing it was not consistent with the country’s fight against so-called man-made warming.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January overturning his predecessor’s order allowing TransCanda to resubmit its pipeline application to the State Department for approval.

Some of the American Indian activists who fought against the equally as contested Dakota Access Pipeline are shifting their anti-pipeline furor to Keystone and the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, a 148-mile project transporting natural gas through the Big Bend region in Texas to Mexico.

“People are going to be mad at Trump for bringing Keystone back because it’s going to cause resistance for every single pipeline project across the country and it’s going to cause pressure for the banks that fund all these projects,” Shor said. “We are building an army of resistance. This fight is not over.”

Financial institutions investing in the DAPL such as Wells Fargo have become a target among those protesting the project – the DAPL, like Keystone, is opposed by environmentalists and Indian tribes that worry the project could poison Standing Rock Sioux’s water supply.

Wells Fargo is not the only bank getting pounded. Citi Group, TD Bank of Canada, and others, are also being pressured by anti-fracking activists to halt any and all monetary backing of the company responsible for constructing the DAPL.

Other environmentalist groups are hell-bent on challenging Keystone in the courts. They argue the Department of State violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving the project based on a three-year-old analysis conducted when oil prices were more than double what they are now.

“Moving forward solely on the basis of an objectively outdated environmental review on a pipeline that doesn’t have a full route does pose a lot of problem for the legality of the approval,” said Anthony Swift, an lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The weaknesses of an approval at this stage and the legal vulnerabilities of that approval are apparent,” he added.

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