A Native American tribe in Nebraska remains opposed to Keystone XL no matter along what route the oil pipeline might be built.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska chair Larry Wright, Jr. says it matters little to the tribe that the Nebraska Public Service Commission approved an alternative route to the one preferred by TransCanada.
“Our tribe wasn’t part of this process, we weren’t contacted, and have that consultation with TransCanada,” Wright tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And, regardless of that, we just fundamentally disagree with putting this pipeline and its location, because of what it means to our resources: water, the land itself, where our people are buried.”
Wright says he must consider the impact the pipeline might have on future generations.
“And we just cannot sit back and let something like this happen without a fight,” Wright says. “We just do not believe this is in the best interest of our tribal nation here in Nebraska as well as the other tribes that are along this route and the treaty alliance, the tribes, will continue to stand together and we’ll fight.”
Wright notes the original Keystone spilled an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil, or about 210,000 gallons, in South Dakota, just prior to the PSC ruling on Keystone XL. TransCanada says the leak remains under investigation.
The Public Service Commission Monday, on a 3-2 vote, approved Keystone XL, but approved an alternative to the preferred route of TransCanada.
The PSC held hearings in August on three proposed routes for Keystone XL to be constructed through Nebraska. It approved the Mainline Alternative Route, rejecting TransCanada’s preferred route through the state.
The alternative route enters the state at the same point as the preferred route and follows its path through much of the state, until it veers in Antelope County to follow the route of the original Keystone oil pipeline, which operates in eastern Nebraska.
TransCanada proposes building the $8 billion project to complete the northern portion of Keystone XL. TransCanada proposes building Keystone XL from the oil sands fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. It then could be connected to the southern portion of the pipeline, which is now operating from Oklahoma City to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.
TransCanada won presidential approval from President Donald Trump after being rejected by President Barack Obama. Obama stated approval of Keystone XL would undermine the United States’ standing as a leader in reducing carbon emissions in the fight against climate change.
The PSC reports parties to the proceeding have 30 days to file an appeal of the decision with the courts.