U.S. district judge, Brian Morris, has ordered that construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline be stopped until the state government fully determines its environmental impact. The topic of the Keystone XL Pipeline is a highly controversial one, drawing critics to it for environmental reasons, homeowners’ rights, political reasons, and economic reasons.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is owned by the TransCanada Corporation and was first proposed around 2009 or 2010. TransCanada is an energy company that works on the North American continent. It was meant to transport Alberta Tar Sands oil from Canada to the US, and by extension, the global market. The Pipeline’s proposed path goes straight through North Dakota to Texas. Many groups have protested this construction.
Environmental groups fear that its construction will harm the surrounding environment. There are also issues with oil spills. To date, the Pipeline has already broken and leaked in the past. The first leak was on April 2, 2016, and the second was November 16, 2017. During the second leak, even though the company had detected and sealed the leak quickly, it was estimated that 210,000 gallons of crude oil had spilled onto South Dakota soil. The local Native American tribe, the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux, expressed concerns that the oil could soak into the ground and contaminate the local aquifer.
In fact, this Pipeline has caused residents of the Midwest to rally together and protest the construction. Many of these ordinary citizens have never participated in the political protests before, but apparently, the company’s treatment of citizens’ rights has been less than pleasant. Ranchers of the Midwest have talked about their concerns of how possible oil spills can damage their farms and pastures for years, and also have said that the TransCanada Corp had threatened to use eminent domain against them to take their land by force. Additionally, many Native American tribes of the Midwest have also protested against the Pipeline. The consensus of the tribes is that the Pipeline endangers their land and health. They have also said that the government did not consult them or get their permission to do construction on their reservations.
Politically, the pipeline is owned by a Canadian company and is international. Additionally, the majority of the Pipeline’s proposed path goes through American states, from North Dakota to Texas. The current state of construction on the pipe has only made it go as far as Oklahoma and Illinois. Still, if anything was to happen, such as a spill, it is more likely to negatively impact American land, not Canadian land. The TransCanada Corp. and many pro-pipeline American politicians have tried to justify this by saying that the construction of the Pipeline would bring jobs to the Midwest. However, these jobs are only temporary and will disappear when the Pipeline’s construction is finished.