One of the early decisions of President Joe Biden last week was to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline.
The pipeline, which opponents fought in South Dakota over the last few years, was initially stopped by former President Barack Obama in 2015, but then put back into play by now former President Donald Trump with an executive order.
With Biden’s executive order this last week halting the project, many environmentalists and activists wonder what this will mean for projects like Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project in Minnesota.
When asked, Enbridge issued the following statement on the differences between the projects.
“These are very different projects,” said Enbridge communications officer Juli Kellner.
She said that the Keystone line is a proposed new pipeline project by another company, while Line 3 is an operating pipeline providing oil to the public.
“Replacing Line 3 is a safety and maintenance $2.6 billion pipeline improvement that will protect Minnesota’s waters and the environment for decades to come,” Kellner said. “It is also the most studied pipeline project in state history.”
Kellner added that the project was ordered by consent decree during the Obama administration, and has passed every test during six years of regulatory and environmental reviews.
Opponents of Line 3 project, however, appeared to feel the Keystone XL decision could signal a change for Line 3’s status.
Winona LaDuke, who has been at the heart of the protests in the Aitkin County area, issued a statement Friday.
“President Joe Biden made great measures to shut down Keystone XL but Line 3 is on the same scale and so is the Dakota Access Pipeline,” LaDuke said in an email. “Not only does Line 3 violate indigenous rights, the pipelines would be a 10% expansion of the last tar sands pipeline.”
LaDuke said that the pipeline work has done damage to wild rice watersheds, indigenous lands and wetlands and added that police appear to be overstepping their boundaries.
“President Biden has the power to stop this project on day one. He can review the permits granted by Trump and halt Line 3 construction immediately,” she wrote. “The Army Corps has the authority to stop the flow of oil through the pipeline.
Andy Pearson, Midwest Tar Sands coordinator at MN350, offered a concise statement.
“We’re thrilled about President Biden’s executive order to stop Keystone XL,” Pearson said. “Tar sands is one of the dirtiest fossil fuel industries and has no place in a green energy economy. We celebrate today with the ranchers and indigenous organizers and allies who fought hard for this victory.
“We call on Biden to act with the same urgency to stop the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, which is essentially a KXL clone,” he added. “Line 3 is this country’s other massive tar sands project and it deserves the same fate. Line 3 is being built across Anishinaabe treaty territory and the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and would have the climate change impact of 50 coal plants.
“President Biden, now do Line 3.”