On Nov. 16, at least 210,000 gallons of tar sands oil spilled in South Dakota from the Keystone pipeline. The pipeline, owned by TransCanada, is the same company that is trying to build yet another pipeline — the infamous Keystone XL – which, if built, would bring tar sands oil south from indigenous lands in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas for likely export. The spill occurred just days before Nebraska’s Public Service Commission had to rule on TransCanada’s application for the KXL through the state. The project, which was denied a permit by President Obama in 2015, was revived by an executive order signed by Donald Trump in one of his first official acts in office.
On Nov. 20, the Public Service Commission announced their approval of the pipeline by a 3 to 2 vote, but changed 60 percent of the route through Nebraska, which means the company must now deal with a whole new set of challenges. Another major obstacle for the company is that the price of oil has dropped by more than 50 percent since TransCanada first proposed the project over a decade ago.
Between The Line’s Melinda Tuhus spoke with Art Tanderup, a Nebraska farmer and member of Bold Nebraska, a group that has been fighting the pipeline through legal challenges, grassroots organizing, and the construction of several solar-powered buildings along the proposed pipeline route. Here, Tanderup, whose farm is located on both the earlier and newly approved route, maintains that despite the Commission decision, the fight is far from over.