Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline — Opposed by Indigenous Populations and Environmentalists Alike — Officially Killed

The Keystone XL Pipeline, a project equally reviled by environmentalists as well as the country’s Indigenous populations, is officially dead.

Reuters has reported that the “$9 billion oil pipeline [that] became a symbol of the rising political clout of climate change advocates, and a flashpoint in U.S.-Canada relations was officially canceled on Wednesday.”

Earlier this year, on his very first day in office, President Joe Biden revoked a key permit that the pipeline’s owner, TC Energy Corp, needed to begin construction. The pipeline would stretch over 1,200 miles and carry 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada’s “Western tar sands” region to central Nebraska. The Keystone XL pipeline was announced more than a decade ago but delayed for the past 12 years due to ongoing opposition from U.S. landowners, Native American tribes and environmentalists. On June 9, TC Energy officially announced that they would be ending the controversial (and widely loathed) pipeline project.

According to Reuters, “Opponents of the line fought its construction for years, saying it was unnecessary and would hamper the U.S. transition to cleaner fuels. Its demise comes as other North American oil pipelines, including Dakota Access and Enbridge Line 3, face continued opposition from environmental groups.”

Indigenous populations throughout Canada and western U.S. states like Montana were particularly vocal in their opposition to the pipeline, staging repeated protests and drawing public attention to their cause. They feared that the pipeline would not only contaminate their land and water, but its potential path would likely destroy historic and sacred Indigenous land.

TC Energy, which also owns and operates the existing original Keystone pipeline that runs from Alberta to a U.S. oil storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, and then to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has pledged a “safe and orderly” termination of the XL project.

In a statement, Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity that opposed the pipeline and helped to fight against its construction, said, “This is a landmark moment in the fight against the climate crisis. We’re hopeful that the Biden administration will continue to shift this country in the right direction by opposing fossil fuel projects.”

“For 13 years, an international movement of frontline communities in the U.S. and Canada, Indigenous leaders and environmentalists fought back against this terrible proposed project at every turn,” Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, said in his own statement. “Today, we can say yet again, that our efforts were a resounding success.”

Larry Wright Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska — one of many tribes against the construction of the new pipeline — echoed that sentiment, saying, “On behalf of our Ponca Nation, we welcome this long-overdue news and thank all who worked so tirelessly to educate and fight to prevent this from coming to fruition. It’s a great day for Mother Earth.”


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