Activists are accusing the Trump administration of taking shortcuts around legal review processes after President Donald Trump released a final report Monday on the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Department of State’s 300-page report found that the Keystone extension could damage wetlands across parts of Nebraska, though most of the impact would be temporary. The Sierra Club was not thrilled with how the Trump administration trotted out the report.
The report was required because of the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s vote in November 2017 to allow TransCanada to build the multi-billion dollar pipeline only on an alternative route. The Trump administration prepared a new environmental assessment for the new Nebraska route. Activists wanted a new environmental impact assessment.
“Once again, the Trump administration is attempting to take a shortcut around the legally required review process on Keystone XL, putting our communities at risk for the sake of propping up the Canadian tar sands industry,” Kelly Martin, director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, said in a press statement.
Keystone and the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota became a cause celebre during the latter half of the Obama administration. Former President Barack Obama blocked permits for the route in 2015 under the aegis that the project would hurt the fight against climate change. Trump later signed an executive order approving both projects subject to regulatory review.
Nebraska laws prohibits regulators from considering pipeline leaks or breaks when determining the fate of future projects. Environmentalists believe the Keystone XL pipeline is at risk of leaking and potentially contaminating drinking water. (RELATED: Nebraska Regulators Approve Construction On Keystone XL Pipeline)
TransCanada, the company behind the project, temporarily shuttered the pipeline in mid-2017 after detecting a leak 35 miles south of one of the primary line’s pumping station. Company officials estimated Keystone leaked 5,000 barrels of oil before workers took the project offline.
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