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Developer behind Keystone XL oil pipeline pulls the plug on controversial project

By Setareh Jalali

After a decade of controversy and legal battles, the developers behind the 1,179-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline announced Wednesday that it’s officially terminating the project.  

The pipeline would have carried more than 800,000 barrels (35 million gallons) a day of petroleum from land-locked Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Its proposed route through Nebraska cut through the Ogallala Aquifer, a water source for millions of residents in the area. 

TC Energy, the Canadian company behind the project, had already stalled construction in January when President Biden revoked their presidential permit on his first day in office. 

The news came as a relief to environmental activists and indigenous people who have been advocating for the project to be terminated due to its effects on climate change and the possibility of a leak contaminating drinking sources for indigenous communities. Earlier this week hundreds of protestors were arrested in protests against the project. 

“The cancellation of Keystone XL is a reminder that this project was never needed and never in the public interest, and that it is time for the fossil fuel era to rapidly come to a close,” David Turnbull, strategic communications director with Oil Change International, said in a statement. 

Environmentalists had also cited concerns about the fact that the pipeline would carry oil sands crude, which requires more processing than most oil and emits more greenhouse gases in production. 

Environmental activists spent years advocating for President Obama to reject the construction permit, making the case that the approval of the pipeline would hinder his efforts to fight climate change. In 2015, Obama announced that he would reject the permit. President Trump reversed that decision on his third day in office.  

Activists hope that this decision will lead to the termination of other pipeline projects, including the Enbridge Line 3 and the Dakota Access pipelines.  

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