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

Just Posted

Comox Valley Transition Society available for women who need help throughout pandemic

“We anticipate more women than usual will access our resources, but we do have plans in place.”

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Comox Valley Regional District approves emergency funding to address community COVID-19 issues

The Comox Valley Regional District’s board of directors has approved $148,279 in… Continue reading

Search for missing man comes to sad conclusion

The man reported missing to the Campbell River RCMP on March 30… Continue reading

Courtenay pharmacy donates some sanitizer despite high demand

Pure Integrative Pharmacy provides some to Glacier Village, Comox Valley Transition Society

‘We don’t need this right now’: B.C. man breaks up road rage incident

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road in Saanich on Vancouver Island

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Most Read