Yesterday Federal Judge Brian Morris ruled that TransCanada has not fulfilled the requirements to begin construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the company cannot do any work on the pipeline construction until it adequately completes the State Department’s supplement to the 2014 Shared Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in order to comply with its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This vacates the 2017 decision by the Republican President to approve the pipeline permit.
Specifically, Judge Morris ruled that the following issues have not been adequately considered:
The effects of current oil prices on the viability of Keystone
The cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta Clipper expansion and Keystone
An updated modeling of potential oil spills and recommended mitigation measures
The reason consideration of current oil prices is important is that mining tar sands oil is much more expensive than pumping oil from liquid deposits. If the market price of oil is too low, tar sands oil is not cost effective. Currently Saudi Arabia is flooding the oil markets, and the price of oil has been dropping.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the rule of law, and it’s a victory for common sense stewardship of the land and water upon which we all depend. Despite the best efforts of wealthy, multinational corporations and the powerful politicians who cynically do their bidding, we see that everyday people can still band together and successfully defend their rights. All Americans should be proud that our system of checks and balances can still function even in the face of enormous strains,” said Dena Hoff, Glendive farmer and member-leader of the Northern Plains Resource Council.
Many of us have been involve in the fight against the Keystone Pipeline since plans to build it were announced in 2013. I was among 97,236 people who signed the Keystone Pledge of Resistance:
“I pledge, if necessary, to join others in my community, and engage in acts of dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could result in my arrest in order to send the message to President Obama and his administration that they must reject the Keystone XL pipeline.”
And I was one of about 400 people who were trained by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), CREDO, and the Other 98 Percent as Action Leaders to create local plans for nonviolent direct actions. The Action Leaders then trained over 4,000 local activists to participate in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in the event it looked like the pipeline was about to be approved. This was the first time the environmental community found a way to effectively challenge the fossil fuel industry in the United States. https://jeffkisling.com/?s=keystone+pipeline
In Indianapolis we designed a direct action that would involve blocking the doors of the downtown Federal Building, and held six training sessions which educated about 50 local activists. We held many rallies downtown to raise awareness about the dangers of tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline.
We used other opportunities to raise awareness about the Keystone Pipeline, fossil fuels and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. The Indianapolis Star published this letter to the editor I wrote. Senator Donnelly had been talking about the jobs the pipeline would create. In reality less the 50 full time jobs would be created. After this editorial, he didn’t talk about jobs again.
The Kheprw Institute (KI), a Black youth mentoring community I was involved with, allowed us to hold a public meeting about the Keystone Resistance. Each of the Action Leaders spoke about why we were willing to risk arrest to stop the pipeline.
We had numerous public demonstrations in downtown Indianapolis to try to raise awareness. Every week at our peace vigil I held my Stop Keystone Pipeline sign.
North Meadow Circle of Friends, the Quaker meeting I attended in Indianapolis, divested their bank account from Chase bank because of its support of pipelines.
I was also connected to Derek Glass, who was looking for video projects for his interns to work on. He and Andrew Burger and I create this video about the Keystone Pledge of Resistance.
President Obama did finally decide to deny the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, so we did not have to trigger our civil disobedience actions.
We leaned a great deal about organizing and training for local civil disobedience direct actions. Our work also created a large and diverse network of environmental activists. This was extremely useful when people in Indianapolis wanted to organize to support the water protectors in North Dakota who were trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Joshua Taflinger and Brandi Heron led these efforts in Indianapolis. They knew Jim Poyser, one of the Keystone Action Leaders, and asked him for help in organizing the #NoDAPL efforts in Indianapolis. He contacted me and the other Keystone Leaders, and we were all happy to help with this. We held numerous public demonstrations, prayer vigils and bank divestment events.
At the Kheprw Institute, Ra Wyse interviewed me about the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Coming full circle in a way, the video below is of me talking about the Keystone Pledge of Resistance at a Dakota Access Pipeline gathering at the Indiana State Capitol.