Elijah Zarlin / CREDO Action – 2012-05-06 00:26:18
(May 5, 2012) — News broke Thursday that TransCanada has secretly submitted its permit application for the Southern portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline to the Army Corps of Engineers.1
The Army Corps, which has an abysmal environmental track record, could approve the project in 45 days â€” or sooner â€” unless the EPA steps in.
To evade meaningful review, TransCanada has has tried to break up the approval process, applying for an expedited permit for the Southern portion, which would allow the Army Corps to approve all 101 water crossings on the route between Cushing, Okla., and the Gulf Coast at once.
EPA has the power to stop this rubber stamp process, but it has to step in. We know that EPA officials have serious concerns about this expedited approval â€” and EPA’s regional office said last fall the all-in-one permit was insufficient, given the serious threat to water and wetlands in Oklahoma and Texas.
Ultimately, all of this happens in the Obama administration, so President Obama is still the ultimate decision maker. And we know from his deeply unfortunate photo-op in TransCanada’s pipe yard in Cushing, Okla., how much of an effort he is making to at least appear pro-pipeline.
But whether he and his EPA will allow 101 water crossings to be rubber stamped in one fell swoop is another matter. And we need to show strong support for the EPA officials who have already raised a red flag.
Meanwhile, TransCanada is also set to re-apply for the State Department for the northern portion of the pipeline as soon as today2 â€” the permit they were denied thanks to our activism this January.
By breaking up the pipeline TransCanada is trying to get a jump on construction, and circumvent the full approval process. But it doesn’t change any of the facts on the ground. The southern route will still speed the exporting and burning of Tar Sands around the world â€” speeding catastrophic climate change.
The northern route will still enable Tar Sands producers to turn up the spigot on this dirty oil getting exported and burned overseas. And while TransCanada has revised the route through Nebraska, the new route still runs over the Ogallala Aquifer and runs through Nebraska’s sensitive Sandhills region.
It’s no surprise that we’re receiving reports from Nebraska activists that the Koch Brothers are literally working with TransCanada to hoodwink Nebraskans into supporting this project, which will help the Kochs and oil companies from Saudi Arabia and Canada, while leaving us to deal with the dirty, dangerous, catastrophic mess.
But we can’t stand by and let them do it. Telling the EPA to step in is the best way to build pressure right now.
Tell EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson: Don’t let Keystone XL get rubber stamped! Click below to automatically sign the petition:
Thanks for continuing to oppose the dangerous Keystone XL Pipeline.
Elijah Zarlin is Campaign Manager for CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. “TransCanada secretly moves forward with permits for Keystone XL southern segment amid EPA Region 6’s previous objections,” Friends of the Earth, May 3, 2012
2. “TransCanada expected to reapply for Keystone pipeline permit as soon as Friday,” Washington Post, May 3, 2012