Once believed to be settled, a battle is brewing once again over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
President Barack Obama rejected the permit request filed by TransCanada to construct the $8 billion oil pipeline from western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to reverse that decision.
BOLD Nebraska claimed a big victory when Obama made his announcement late last year. Obama, in rejecting the application, claimed approval would undercut America’s global leadership in combating climate change.
BOLD Nebraska Energy Director Ben Gotschall says the group wants to be pro-active.
“We’re not taking a wait and see approach,” Gotschall tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX. “We’re definitely having strategy conversations with our allies. We haven’t developed a strategy or decided on a strategy for moving forward, but we’re not going to assume that that we’re not going to have a fight on our hands.”
Gotschall believes opponents are even stronger now than they were.
“This time we have a stronger coalition of allies, not just in Nebraska but from here to North Dakota, to Canada and, really, all over the country,” according to Gotschall. “We will wait and see what he does, but we will not wait and see in order to start talking about ways to move forward and protect our interests.”
Gotschall anticipates an even more pitched battle this time than last.
“So, it’s going to be an uphill battle. It always was an uphill battle. So many of our elected officials in this state are working on behalf of TransCanada. We don’t expect that to be any different this time,” Gotschall says. “Obviously, there’s a different president in the White House. So, it will definitely be an uphill battle.”
The main fight against Keystone XL didn’t center on the pipeline itself, but on the crude it might transport from western Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas. The crude is being produced from oil sands, what environmentalists portray as a particularly dirty fuel.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this story.