Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 4, 2017

Contact:  Jared Margolis, (802) 310-4054,
Gabby Brown, (202) 495-3051,
Jake Thompson, (202) 289-2387,
Mark Hefflinger, (323) 972-5192,

Groups Call on Trump Administration to Evaluate New Keystone XL Route

Pipeline Route Approved in Nebraska Poses New Risks to Wildlife, Requires Legal Review

WASHINGTON— Environmental groups filed letters today urging the Trump administration to analyze the environmental impacts of the approved route for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The groups — including the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Bold Alliance, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council — sued the Trump administration in federal district court in Montana over its approval of the pipeline. Last month the court allowed the lawsuit to proceed, rejecting the government’s attempt to have it dismissed.

Last month the Nebraska Public Service Commission rejected TransCanada’s preferred route for the pipeline, which the Trump administration approved in March, and instead approved a different route through the state. This new route has not been analyzed by federal agencies.

The new route would pose a significant threat to endangered species, including the pallid sturgeon, as well as protected birds like whooping cranes, piping plovers and interior least terns. Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Department of State and Fish and Wildlife Service are required to assess the pipeline’s new route for its impacts on these endangered species. The National Environmental Policy Act also requires the State Department to prepare a supplemental environmental review that evaluates the broader environmental impacts of the new route.

The request for a “supplemental environmental impact statement” can be found here. The request for Endangered Species Act consultation is here.

“The new route for this disastrous pipeline puts more species at risk and would be just as bad if not worse for people, wildlife and our climate,” said Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Every way you look at it, Keystone XL is still an environmental nightmare waiting to happen.”

“It was already clear that the State Department’s approval of Keystone XL was based on a completely insufficient environmental review. Now the administration has no choice but to update its assessment to reflect the pipeline’s current proposed route,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes. “Keystone XL would threaten land, water, wildlife, and communities along its route. This administration cannot just ignore the law and refuse to assess these risks.”

“The Trump administration’s approval of Keystone XL was already illegal and is even more so now,” said NRDC Senior Attorney Jackie Prange. “The law is clear that the pipeline cannot be built along an entirely new route without further environmental review. That review will certainly reaffirm that this dirty tar sands pipeline threatens our land, water and climate, and should never be built. ”

“The Public Service Commission’s ‘alternative’ route for Keystone XL introduces major changes that require federal environmental review — land in five new counties never examined, additional water crossings, and even more endangered species now threatened,” said Hannah Adams, deputy director of Bold Alliance. “Not to mention the federal review must now consider TransCanada’s enormous recent spill caused by shoddy construction on its original Keystone Pipeline, and the dozens of Nebraska landowners who are now hearing for the first time that TransCanada wants to take their land for a tar sands export pipeline, and who never had a chance to speak out with their concerns at any point during the State Department’s review.”

“Those that live and work along the Keystone XL pipeline’s new route have been put in harm’s way by this dirty pipeline proposal,” said Marcie Keever, legal director at Friends of the Earth. “Just last month, TransCanada spilled 210,000 gallons of oil from one of the Keystone pipeline just north of the new route. We will not stand by and allow oil and gas companies to ruin our climate and pollute our land, water and sacred cultural sites.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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