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Today's Keystone Pipeline Spill Count is 14.

There have been at least fourteen known spills on the Keystone Pipeline since the start of operations in June 2010. Have evidence of another Keystone Pipeline spill? Let us know! info[at]

Jimmy Carter speaks out against Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

April 19, 2014

A letter signed by former US president Jimmy Carter and nine other Nobel Prize laureates, which includes Archbishop Desmond Tutu have called on president Obama to consider the economic and environmental legacy that he wants to leave. The concern is that this project will speed up climate change while having rather insignificant economic benefits for the United States as a whole. Leaders from across the world are calling on president Obama to lead the US on a path that has positive ramifications for the rest of the world.

Obama administration delays decision on Keystone XL pipeline

April 18, 2014

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Obama Administration will delay their decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until next fall. The decision will be delayed until November after the midterm elections. There is a concern that ruling against the pipeline prior to a difficult election season could cause Democrats to lose the Senate. There is stiff pressure from Republicans and the oil industry as well as conservative Democrats to give approval of the pipeline and create more jobs. President Obama previously stated that he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline only if there is evidence that the pipeline would not contribute to more emissions of greenhouse gases.

Is Canada Tarring Itself?

March 30, 2014

The New York Times reports on the fundamental change Canada has undertaken since 2008. What was once thought of, as Canada being the more environmentally savvy neighbor to our North is no more. Instead, the election of Stephen Harper and his goals of Canada becoming an “economic superpower” have allowed tar sands to push the national agenda and effectively have weakened over 70 Canadian environmental laws. This push by Canadian oil has heavily influenced the Keystone XL pipeline debate here in the US to the point that the Canadian government set aside in the 2013-14 budget almost $22 million for promotion of tar sands lobbying outside of Canada. In the end, the measures taken by Canada are substantially affecting not only the rest of the world but their own provinces as well.

While America Spars Over Keystone XL, A Vast Network Of Pipelines Is Quietly Being Approved

March 21, 2014

Katie Valentine recently reported the alarming reality that while America unites collectively against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline; numerous pipelines have already been permitted or are already in the ground and slated to carry the same tar sands crude oil. The fear is that Keystone XL had distracted environmentalists from other proposed pipelines and will these pipelines be actively opposed against following the ruling on Keystone XL?

Tribal concerns about Keystone XL

September 18, 2012

The Washington Post reports at significant length about tribal concerns along the Keystone XL route.  Similar concerns were raised, and dismissed with little action, when the Keystone I pipeline was built.  In most cases, the land where the pipeline will be built isn’t currently owned by the tribes, but is part of ancestral homelands that include sacred sites and burial grounds.  The tribes want to catalog sites that may be affected and prevent disruption to places with historical, archeological, or spiritual significance.

TransCanada releases new proposed NE Keystone XL route

September 6, 2012

The Lincoln Journal-Star reports on TransCanada’s new proposed route, which avoids the Sandhills but still crosses a large stretch of the Ogallala aquifer.

About that pipeline tax “windfall”

July 16, 2012

Nebraska’s tax proceeds from the first year of operation for the Keystone I pipeline crossing the eastern edge of the state proved to be less than half the $5.5 million annual number that TransCanada claimed when promoting the project.  The actual figure is around $2.2 million.  TransCanada, ever the optimist, claims that the number will rise in the current fiscal year, an assertion that raises logical skepticism.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, as they say.

Why “record” fine for Michigan oil spill is a slap on the wrist

July 5, 2012

Former Plains Justice staff attorney Paul Blackburn’s guest commentary for Midwest Energy News.

US Grants Permit for Southernmost Segment of Keystone XL

July 2, 2012

The New York Times reported last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted TransCanada construction permits for part of the Keystone XL route passing through Texas.  This isn’t the full Gulf Coast segment from Cushing, Oklahoma: the rest remains under review.  TransCanada states that it intends to begin construction on the full Oklahoma – Texas link later this summer.  No formal responses from opponents have emerged.  For those of you who are wondering if and when Plains Justice will get involved, the answer is that we don’t currently have any capacity to work in southern plains states.  We’re just passing on what others are working on.  Check the Blogroll to the right to find engaged locals.

State department press release on new Keystone XL application

May 4, 2012

The State Department has received a new application from TransCanada Corp. for a proposed pipeline that would run from the Canadian border to connect to an existing pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska. The new application includes proposed new routes through the state of Nebraska. The Department is committed to conducting a rigorous, transparent and thorough review.

Under Executive Order 13337, it is the Department’s responsibility to determine if granting a permit for the proposed pipeline is in the national interest. We will consider this new application on its merits. Consistent with the Executive Order, this involves consideration of many factors, including energy security, health, environmental, cultural, economic, and foreign policy concerns.

We will begin by hiring an independent third-party contractor to assist the Department, including reviewing the existing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from the prior Keystone XL pipeline review process, as well as identifying and assisting with new analysis.

We will cooperate with the state of Nebraska, as well as other relevant State and Federal agencies, throughout the process. Nebraska has stated that their own review of the new route will take six to nine months. Previously when we announced review of alternate routes through Nebraska this past fall, our best estimate on when we would complete the national interest determination was the first quarter of 2013.

We will conduct our review efficiently, using existing analysis as appropriate.

The application will be available on the Keystone XL project website:, and a notice that the Department has received the application will run in the Federal Register.