On November 16, TransCanada Pipeline shut down the existing Keystone Pipeline to contain a spill in South Dakota, estimated at 210,000 gallons– the third in the area since operations began in 2010. Reports include “South Dakota Warns It Could Revoke Keystone Pipeline Permit Over Oil Spill” in Inside Climate News . On November 20, the Nebraska Public Service Commission granted approval to Keystone – but an approval which Anthony Swift at NRDC describes as a “pyrrhic victory” because the original proposed route through Nebraska was rejected, and the new alternative route approved – the Keystone Mainline Alternative route – must now undergo new state and federal environmental approval processes . Official intervenors may also file an appeal in the Nebraska courts within 30 days and may petition the Public Service Commission for a rehearing within ten days. Even TransCanada seems to wonder if the Keystone will ever get built – the official press release states: “As a result of today’s decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project. ” Other reaction to the news of the approval: from The National Observer ; Alberta’s Calgary Herald; Council of Canadians ; Bold Nebraska (an alliance of landowners, environmental groups and First Nations), and from Common Dreams, ” ‘This Fight Is Far From Over’ Groups Declare as Nebraska Clears Path for Keystone XL Construction” – summarizing the responses of 350.org and the Sierra Club.
As for strong and resolute opposition: In May 2017, CBC reported that leaders of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Canada, the Great Sioux Nation (U.S.) and the Ponca tribe (U.S.) signed a joint declaration of opposition to Keystone XL . In a broader coalition, First Nations, along with non-native groups such as 350.org and Greenpeace USA, have now launched the Promise to Protect campaign which states: “We will make a series of stands along the route – nonviolent but resolute displays of our continued opposition to a project that endangers us all. Join native and non-native communities in the Promise to Protect the land, water, and climate. ” In light of the resolute and deep resistance, it is important to note an article in The Intercept “Nebraska approves Keystone XL Pipeline as opponents face criminalization of protests” (Nov. 20), which reported: “In anticipation of the Keystone XL’s construction, legislation was passed in South Dakota in March that allows the governor or a local sheriff to prohibit groups numbering more than 20 from gathering on public land or in schools, and also allows the Department of Transportation to limit access to highways by prohibiting stopping or parking in designated areas.” The South Dakota Senate Bill 176 is here.