Monday, July 30, 2018

Contact: Gabby Brown, (202) 495-3051
Jake Thompson, (202) 289-2387,
Mark Hefflinger,

Trump Administration Attempts a Shortcut to Get Keystone XL Built

Tar sands pipeline faces federal and state legal challenges

Washington, DC — Today, Donald Trump’s State Department released a draft Environmental Assessment of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline’s route through Nebraska.

One of the Trump administration’s first actions was the State Department’s approval of Keystone XL based on an outdated Environmental Impact Statement from 2014. In November, Nebraska regulators rejected TransCanada’s preferred route for the pipeline, instead approving a different route which had not been assessed at all.

The Sierra Club and partners are currently challenging the State Department’s approval of the pipeline based on this insufficient analysis in federal court. Rather than following the legally required process of preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement before approving a project, the State Department is attempting to rush the project through by releasing an abbreviated Environmental Assessment on the new Nebraska route while leaving its permit in place, and still failing to conduct an adequate review of the project’s climate impacts, harm to endangered species, or changes in oil prices and market forces since 2014.

“Once again, the Trump administration is attempting to take a shortcut around the legally required review process on Keystone XL, putting our communities at risk for the sake of propping up the Canadian tar sands industry,” said Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Director Kelly Martin. “Keystone XL was a bad idea when it was proposed a decade ago, it was a bad idea when former President Obama rejected it, and it’s an even worse idea now. This pipeline is a threat to our land, water, wildlife, communities, and climate, and we will continue fighting, in the courts and in the streets, to ensure that it is never built.”

“The Trump administration can’t patch over its total failure to comply with the law by releasing this environmental assessment now, after Keystone XL has already been approved. The dirty tar sands carried by this pipeline would have disastrous effects on our climate, land, and water. This project should have been rejected at the outset, and the administration should revoke the permit immediately,” said Jackie Prange, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The Trump administration doesn’t care about water or property rights,” said Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska. “Landowners, Tribal Nations and everyday citizens will continue to fight the Trump administration’s illegal rubber-stamp of a permit for Keystone XL, and this illegal review that completely violated due process of affected landowners on the Mainline Alternative Route. The only right thing to do, would be to reject Keystone XL again.”