We’re expecting some big news from the State Department on the Keystone XL pipeline. From early reports, it looks like the White House is standing strong in the face of Big Oil intimidation and will be denying the current permit for the pipeline, but allowing TransCanada to reapply with a new route through Nebraska.

Make no mistake, for all of us who have been protesting the project, this is a major victory. As late as October, a poll of 300 ‘energy insiders’ in Washington by the National Journal found that 97% thought the pipeline permit would be granted. We tipped the balance in a major way. 

Photo Credit: Christine Irvine

Clearly, this fight isn’t over. Big Oil will do everything it can to overturn that decision, because they are not used to losing. They have one weapon—money. They’ve used it to buy the allegiance of many Representatives and Senators and now they’ll use Congress to try and get their dirty work done. 

The expected decision also leaves TransCanada the option of reapplying with another application for the pipeline. Let’s be clear: a re-route through Nebraska will help protect the Sand Hills and the portion of the Ogallala Aquifer that’s in the state — that’s a huge victory for our friends and allies in Nebraska who have been leading this fight from the start. But the re-route will do nothing to address the climate impacts of burning tar sands, the economic downside of continuing our addiction to oil, the risks the pipeline poses to other states along the route, or the political influence Big Oil continues to use to override the interests of the American people. If this pipeline comes back, so will we. 

Stay tuned for more info throughout the day on the impending decision, as well as our official response from Bill McKibben and others. 

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