Executive order shuts down construction of Keystone XL pipeline

In a major win for Native American tribes and environmental activists, an executive order was signed last week to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit and shut down the construction of the pipeline immediately. This may be the final chapter in what has become a notorious political game of ping-pong that’s lasted more than a decade between fossil fuel developers and advocates for Indigenous rights and environmental stewardship. 

Some 830,000 barrels of crude oil were expected to flow through the 1,210 mile-long pipeline every day, posing a serious dangerous risk to the lands and water sources of several Native American tribes. Of additional concern is the way this project would underwrite additional extraction of oil from the tar-sands of Canada instead of keeping that carbon sequestered in the ground.  Keystone XL developer TC Energy had tried to win over the incoming administration by promising $1.7 billion to purchase enough renewable energy to match the pipeline’s power consumption by 2030 but to no avail.

The decision to shut down the construction of the pipeline is just one piece of the new President’s plan to move the US away from fossil fuels and help put the country on a path to “100 percent clean energy” by 2050.  

Although activists are pleased with this particular executive order, there are still calls to stop the construction of other pipelines, including the Dakota Access pipeline and the Enbridge Line 3 project, which plans to replace an aging pipeline that runs between Alberta and the Midwestern US with a new one that can transport more oil.

“Suspending one big oil expansion project through Native territory and approving another is the opposite of climate leadership and respect for Indigenous sovereignty,” Tara Houska, a citizen of Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe and prominent attorney

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