Just when it seemed that the Keystone XL pipeline was on hold, TransCanada Corp. segmented the project and the U.S. government fast-tracked the environmental review process. This allows TransCanada to begin construction on the southern part of the Keystone XL this summer.
With a nonviolent direct action camp that started July 27, 2012 in East Texas, grassroots opponents are working on a construction project of their own: Tar Sands Blockade, a coalition of landowners, community members, students, and others dedicated to stopping the pipeline through direct action.
Building in Segments to Get around Opposition
The Keystone XL pipeline was originally proposed as a single line that went from Alberta to Texas. However, in February, TransCanada announced that the southern part of the Keystone XL had been reconceived as a separate pipeline called the Gulf Coast Project.
TransCanada spokesperson David Dodson characterizes the Gulf Coast pipeline as important for the energy security of the United States. According to Dodson, domestic producers “do not have access to enough pipeline capacity to move the production to the large refining market along the U.S. Gulf Coast.”
In March, U.S. President Barack Obama expedited the review process for pipelines going from Oklahoma to Texas. “In part due to rising domestic production, more oil is flowing in than can flow out, creating a bottleneck that is dampening incentives for new production while restricting oil from reaching state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast,” reads the president's March 22 memo. In a whopping 86-word sentence, the president goes on to explain that all agencies are to “coordinate and expedite their reviews, consultations, and other processes as necessary to ...