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Campaign Update – USA: Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline


In a major victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists, President Obamaannounced this week that he would deny a permit from TransCanada to construct the controversial 1,700 mile  Keystone XL pipeline because the administration did not have adequate time to properly determine the environmental effects of the pipeline.

 Chief Allan Adam, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation made the following statement in reaction to the rejection of the pipeline, which would export oil extracted from tar sands in Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation traditional territory:

“The decision to reject this pipeline comes from the opposition of the many Indigenous communities and our allies. The Mother Earth Accord outlined the serious implications the pipeline would’ve had on the people, our rights and our lands. This is a major victory for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. We hope the Canadian government recognizes Obama’s rejection as a sign to slow down the current pace of development in the tar sands. Rapid expansion in the tar sands has left developers struggling for inexpensive ways to ship, refine and sell their oil. Stopping these massive pipelines is key to stopping further destruction of our territory. We are still working to oppose Shell’s proposed tar sands expansion of open pit mining projects in our traditional territory in Northern Alberta. We hope that you all join the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation this year in opposing Shell’s projects and the development of the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Together we can protect our lands, our futures and our treaty rights.”

Although Obama’s decision  is a major step forward, the battle is not yet won. Obama left room for TransCanada tofile a new application, which they intend to do after they find an alternate route that avoids the Ogallala aquifer and the Sandhills region in Nebraska.  TransCanada CEO Russ Girling stated that despite of the ‘delays’ they will indeed reapply and that “interest in the project continues to grow.”