Tomorrow marks six years since TransCanada initially petitioned the U.S.
State Department to build the
Keystone XL pipeline. Do these type of oil pipeline projects usually take this long? The Trans-Alaska
Pipeline System (TAPS) was halted for three years over controversies,
and Keystone I was originally proposed by TransCanada in 2005 but didn't
become operational until 2010.
Keystone XL has been halted not once, not twice, but three times by the
- Delay #1 (11/2011) – The White House announced that it would delay
approval of the pipeline while they explored alternative routes that avoided
environmentally sensitive areas.
- Delay #2 (1/2012) – President Obama delayed a decision on the pipeline
because of a deadline on unrelated legislation.
- Delay #3 (4/2014) – Administration decided to delay approval yet
again until the Nebraska Supreme Court debate over the constitutionality
of a KXL bill is resolved.
The project is controversial for a number of reasons, making it difficult
to boil the debate down into a palatable sound bite. Keystone supporters
believe that the pipeline will create jobs and boost the economy, which
is a bit easier to summarize than the opposition.
Those who are part of the #NoKXL campaign oppose the project for a number
of reasons. Some are Nebraska landowners who simply don't want their
property rights encroached on by a foreign company. Others are environmentalists
who are concerned about the impact of oil sands on the environment. Still
others are farmers and ranchers who have everything to lose if the pipeline
leaks on their property. Many fall into all three categories.
Political agendas, constitutional controversies, and environmental concerns
have converged to create this six-year delay, and no one expects any sort
of movement until after the mid-term elections.