Controversial Keystone XL Oil Pipeline To Begin Construction In April

The oil pipeline that has been doggedly protested for nearly a decade will be built.

Trans Alaska pipeline serves as main artery for Alaska's north slope oil fields.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The oil pipeline that has been doggedly protested for nearly a decade will be built.

TC Energy, a Canadian natural gas company, announced on Tuesday, March 31, that it will move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline according to the Associated Press. Construction of the oil sands pipeline, which cuts across the Midwest, is currently slated for April. The controversial pipeline is heavily opposed by environmentalists and some Native American tribes.

After securing $1.1 billion in financing from Canada’s Alberta province government, TC Energy made the announcement to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline project. The funding will cover construction costs for 2020 as well as for 575,000 barrels of oil to be transported each day.

The price for oil has dropped in recent weeks, but Alberta Premier Jason Kenney explained that Alberta could not wait for the current economic fall to make a recovery. The western province largely depends on natural resources, so the official hopes the investment will help bolster the local economy.

President Donald Trump signed a memorandum to revisit the terms of the proposed project within his first month in the Oval Office. He has since given a permit that some believe to be illegal. President Trump continues to be a supporter of the $8 billion project.

“We thank U.S. President Donald Trump and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as well as many government officials across North America for their advocacy without which, individually and collectively, this project could not have advanced,” TC Energy chief executive Russ Girling said.

The oil sands pipeline will stretch for 1,200 miles and could begin sending oil to the U.S. as early as 2023. The pipeline will have the capability to send 830,000 barrels of oil, or 35 million gallons, per day to Steele City, Nebraska. The idea is that there would be pipes to send the oil further south to the Gulf Coast where there are oil refineries to process the crude oil.

In October 2019, another TC Energy Keystone pipeline spilled around 383,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota. Those who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline claim that spills will undoubtedly occur because of the vast distance it covers–and over waterways at that.

The project was first proposed in 2008 but was rejected by the Obama administration twice, once in 2012 and again in 2015, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The rejections were primarily over environmental concerns that the pipeline could make climate change worse. His decisions were also in the face of protests against a similar pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline. The protests were met by police deploying tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, and pepper spray as The Atlantic reported.

In response to the sometimes violent protests that surrounded the Dakota Access Pipeline, some lawmakers have already taken measures to discourage similar actions. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has already enacted legislation to renew state civil and criminal penalties for demonstrations, riots, and inciting violence.