Skip to main content

Campaign Update – USA: TransCanada to Proceed with Southern Leg of Keystone XL Pipeline


TransCanada announced on Monday that the company will proceed with the construction of the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, the segment that would extend from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf of Mexico. Since this segment would not cross the Canada-US border, it does not require US government approval.  TransCanada plans to begin construction despite a lack of approval for the northern leg of the pipeline.

White House press secretary Jay Carney responded that the Obama administration welcomes the company’s plans to begin construction. In January, Obama rejected the entire pipeline route to the relief of Native American communities and environmentalists.  However, citing that the rushed timeframe for the decision didn’t allow for proper environmental review, Obama still left the door open for the company to apply for a new permit once an alternative route through Nebraska has been established.

Kim Huynh, speaking for Friends of the Earth in response to Carney’s statement, accused the president of trying to cater to both parties in an election year, by expressing a commitment to clean energy "while simultaneously shilling for one of the dirtiest industries on Earth."

TransCandad plans to pipe oil from the Canadian tar sands down to Texas refineries for export to the global market.  TransCanada’s plans have been met with huge opposition from Native American and First Nations groups in the US and Canada, specifically the Ogala-Sioux tribe as the pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, endangering the fresh water supply for two million people.  Along with Native groups, environmentalists have rallied in opposition to the pipeline.  Climatologist James Hansen, has stated that if the full-extent of the tar sands are exploited along with the world's coal reserves, "it is essentially game over" for the climate.

TransCanada said Monday it will file a new presidential permit application for the northern part of Keystone XL from the Canada-U.S. border at Montana to Steele City, Neb., in the "near future."

See our original action alert to Stop the Keystone XL pipeline, here