FILE – This Nov. 3, 2015 file photo shows the Keystone Steele City pumping station, into which the planned Keystone XL pipeline is to connect to, in Steele City, Neb. Pipeline sponsor TC Energy says it has started preliminary work along its route through the U.S. as opponents wait for a judge to rule on their request to block the project. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Canadian firm starts US prep work for Keystone XL pipeline

Opponents await a judge’s ruling on their request to block any work

A Canadian company said Wednesday it has started preliminary work along the route of the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline through the U.S. in anticipation of starting construction next month, as opponents await a judge’s ruling on their request to block any work.

TC Energy spokeswoman Sara Rabern said the Calgary-based company was moving equipment this week and will begin mowing and felling trees in areas along the pipeline’s 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometre) route within the next week or so.

The work is planned in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, Rabern said. She did not provide further location details.

ALSO READ: U.S. judge blocks construction of $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline

In April the company plans to begin construction at the line’s border crossing in northern Montana. That would be a huge milestone for a project first proposed in 2008 that has since attracted bitter opposition from climate activists who say fossil fuel usage must be curbed to combat global warming.

The company also plans work next month on employee camps in Fallon County, Montana and Haakon County, South Dakota.

Environmental groups in January asked U.S. District Judge Brian Morris to block any work. They said clearing and tree felling along the route would destroy bird and wildlife habitat. The judge in December had denied a request from environmentalists to block construction because no work was immediately planned.

The request by environmentalists came days after the Trump administration approved a right-of-way allowing the $8 billion line to be built across federal land.

ALSO READ: Alberta still pushing for Keystone XL pipeline after U.S. stoppage

“It is irresponsible for TC Energy to jump the gun before Judge Morris rules on our motion,” Stephan Volker, an attorney for the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance, said Wednesday.

Keystone XL was rejected twice under former President Barack Obama over worries it could make climate change worse.

The pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels (35 million gallons) of crude oil daily from western Canada to terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

President Donald Trump has been a strong proponent. The Republican issued a special permit for the pipeline last year after Morris had blocked the project in November 2018, citing potential spills and other environmental concerns.

A legal challenge to Trump’s permit is pending before Morris.

ALSO READ: South Dakota Keystone XL opponents point to N. Dakota spill

Another oil pipeline in TC Energy’s Keystone network in October spilled an estimated 383,000 gallons (1.4 million litres) of oil in eastern North Dakota. Critics say a damaging spill from Keystone XL is inevitable given the length of the line and the many rivers and other waterways it would cross beneath.

Matthew Brown, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Keystone XL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Sarah Simpson Column: Diving into Dahl with my darlings

“Why don’t we pull out the Roald Dahl collection we got a couple years ago?”

Renovated Lake Cowichan town hall will include emergency operations centre

Upgrade project expected to be complete within months

Business notes: Realtors raise $10,000 for Nourish Cowichan

The latest from Cowichan’s business community

North Cowichan mayor answers questions about new RCMP detachment

The current building went up in 1980, when there were 30 people working there.

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read