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Environmental activists are organizing a legal challenge to the White House’s approval of a permit that will allow for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was blocked by former President Barack Obama due to environmental concerns.
The Sierra Club, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups, argues that building the $8 billion project requires additional scrutiny of the environmental risks beforehand.
The 2014 environmental impact assessment “downplays or ignores other significant environmental impacts of Keystone XL, including harms to land, air, water, and wildlife,” the groups allege.
A commission in Nebraska is independently evaluating the “public interest” merits of the Keystone line based on evidence presented during a series of public hearings.
Another pipeline faced opposition today, with a Michigan state senator challenging the safety of an existing pipeline run by Canada’s Enbridge, according to a new report by the state’s NPR channel.
The line runs under the Straits of Mackinac, and contrary to Senator Rick Jones’ protests, builder Enbridge insists the facility is safe.
“We believe the steps the state is taking to make sure that Michigan’s pipelines are operated safely and reliably are very important,” the company said in a statement. “We are working with the state and continue to provide information as requested on Line 5, our operations, our ability to respond effectively should an incident occur, and our commitment to prevention through a robust integrity and maintenance program.”
Enbridge spent over $1 billion in 2010, after a roughly one million-barrel spill ruined a portion of the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Michigan. Part of the clean-up effort involved buying the homes of residents who had their properties damaged from the spill. State Senator Jones’ mother-in-law was one of the land owners.
“I don’t trust a company from Canada to tell us they have inspected the lines in Michigan waters and insure that we’re safe,” Jones said this week.
Line 5 has transported oil from fields in Alberta to Michigan to a refinery in Ontario for five years now.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.om
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…