By Kristen Beifus, Member of PSARA Executive Board and Co-Chair of PSARA’s Environmental Committee
The Republican-controlled Congress started 2015 promising to move forward on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. For the 10th time, in January, the House and Senate passed legislation approving the construction of the 1,179 mile oil pipeline, which would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. to Gulf Coast refineries.
At time of press, the State Department had given federal agencies only until February 2 to weigh in on whether the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline serves the national interest, a determination required for all border-crossing pipelines. The State Department has not committed to a timeline for their final decision.
A new batch of lawsuits have just been filed in Nebraska by seven landowners who have received written warnings that TransCanada plans to file eminent domain papers to gain access to their land. Other lawsuits have been tossed out clearing some of the way for TransCanada, which is using the courts to force landowners to sell access to their land. Some landowners have said they will not negotiate.
With support from both houses of Congress, the decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will come down to President Obama’s power to veto the legislation and then Congress’ ability to sustain that veto. The margin of support in Congress currently is not strong enough to override the veto.
What is clear is that this decision will happen soon and have an indelible impact on our planet. PSARA will keep you up-to-date on what is happening and how you can take action to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Our elected leaders need to put this project to rest once and for all and focus instead on reversing global warming, while creating and maintaining living wage jobs.