Just days after the TransCanada oil pipeline spilled copious amounts of oil near an agricultural area near Amherst, South Dakota, the Nebraska Public Service Commission gave the middle finger to environmentalists by voting 3-2 to approve the controversial XL Pipeline. This decision was the final step in overcoming a series of regulations designed to ensure the environment would not be at risk.
Proposed by Canada-based energy giant TransCanada Corp, the pipeline could carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil each day from the Alberta tar sands to a terminal in Steele City, Nebraska. Then President Obama eventually halted construction of the pipeline amid a flurry of protests by tribal and environmental activists.
Believe it or not, the commission refused to take public statements during its brief public hearing on Monday. But that certainly isn’t stopping environmental groups from speaking up.
We will make sure that none of that route ever gets approved,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska, a local group that has been leading the fight against Keystone XL in Nebraska, after the vote.
More environmentalists chimed in.
“Why should TransCanada be allowed to build a new pipeline when one of their existing pipelines had a massive spill just last week?” said Greenpeace Tar Sands Campaigner Rachel Rye Butler in a statement after the Nebraska vote.
But it’s not just environmentalists. Landowners are also majorly concerned about the risks the pipeline poses to local water supplies.
It’s definitely a risk,” said Art Tanderup, a farmer and landowner in Neligh, Nebraska, whose land is along the proposed Keystone XL route.
However, native tribes are the loudest opponents of the pipeline, and they’re not going away anytime soon.
People power will still stop this pipeline, said a rep for the Treaty Alliance, a group that represents indigenous communities along the Keystone XL pipeline route in both Canada and the US.
People power is what stopped this horrendous project in the first place, and people power is what will continue to fight it.
Featured image via Brylie Oxley/Wikimedia Commons