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KXL Pipeline Developer Plans to Start Construction in 2019
"Keystone XL has undergone years of extensive environmental review by federal and state regulators," TransCanada spokesman Matthew John told Omaha World-Herald. "All of these evaluations show that Keystone XL can be built safely and with minimal impact to the environment."
The move comes after President Trump's State Department—in response to a judge's order—released a nearly 340-page draft review on Friday that said the pipeline's alternative route approved by Nebraska regulators in November will have "no significant direct, indirect or cumulative effects on the quality of the natural or human environments."
"Prompt cleanup response would likely be capable of remediating the contaminated soils before the hazardous release reaches groundwater depth," the report also said.
The KXL has been at the center of a contentious fight for a decade. If built, the $8 billion, 1,184-mile pipeline will transport heavy crude oil from Alberta's tar sands through Montana and North and South Dakota to connect with an existing Keystone pipeline in Nebraska.
Indigenous groups worry that its path would cross drinking water sources and treaty territories.
Earlier this month, the Fort Belknap Indian Community of Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota asked a Montana judge to rescind the permit granted by the Trump administration, saying it did not assess how the pipeline would impact their water and sacred lands.
Environmental groups sharply criticized the Trump administration's review and vowed to fight the project.
“The Trump administration sees no problem with building Keystone XL—in other news, the grass is still green and the sky is still blue," Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director Kelly Martin said in a press release.
Keystone XL is a threat to our land, water, wildlife, communities, and climate. We've held off construction of this pipeline for 10 years, and regardless of this administration's attempts to force this dirty tar sands pipeline on the American people, that fight will continue until Keystone XL is stopped once and for all.
Builders have already started preparing pipe yards, transporting pipe and mowing parts of the project's right-of-way in Montana and South Dakota, the Associated Press wrote.
Last week, the Guardian reported that state and federal law enforcement officials are already anticipating possible Standing Rock-style protests against the KXL, citing documents from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Montana.
The ACLU obtained a report showing that state and federal agencies may be spying on potential protesters and characterizes pipeline opponents as "extremists" intent on "criminal disruptions and violent incidents" and warned of potential "terrorism."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Governors in Vermont and Maine signed bills on Monday that will ban plastic bags in their states next year, The Hill reported.
The Maine ban will go into effect next Earth Day, April 22, 2020. The Vermont ban, which extends beyond plastic bags and is the most comprehensive plastics ban so far, will go into effect in July 2020. The wait time is designed to give businesses time to adjust to the ban.
By Molly Taft
Lisa Marshall isn't your typical activist. For one thing, she's not into crowds. "I don't really like rallies," Marshall, a mom of three from upstate New York, said. "They're a little stressful — not my favorite thing."
Total Ban on Fracking Urged by Health Experts: 1,500 Studies Showed 'Damning' Evidence of Threats to Public Health, Climate
By Jake Johnson
A comprehensive analysis of nearly 1,500 scientific studies, government reports, and media stories on the consequences of fracking released Wednesday found that the evidence overwhelmingly shows the drilling method poses a profound threat to public health and the climate.
By Grace Francese
A new Environmental Working Group (EWG) study published in Environmental Research found that nitrate, one of the most common contaminants of drinking water, may cause up to 12,594 cases of cancer per year, but that's not its only danger: It can pose unique health risks to children.
Former coal lobbyist and Trump-appointed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a rule Wednesday that officially replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with a new regulation that Wheeler said could lead to the opening of more coal plants, the Associated Press reported.