Nebraska & Keystone



On the back of the Keystone fight, an entire new front in the climate fight has emerged. Photograph by Nati Harnik / AP

Difficult to believe:

Nebraska Sort of Approves the Keystone Pipeline

By Bill McKibben

In the summer of 2011, National Journal polled a group of “energy and environment insiders” in Washington, D.C., to ask if the Keystone XL pipeline would be approved. “Virtually all” of them said yes; by a landslide, they predicted that TransCanada Corporation would have the permits in hand by the end of that year. They didn’t reckon, however, with an outpouring of opposition, including from a group I helped found,

Six years later, the company may finally have the permits it needs. Or not—the Nebraska Public Service Commission voted in truly confusing fashion, this morning, to permit the pipeline to cross the state on its journey from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast, but on an alternative route from the one that the company wanted. That means that the company still needs to get approval from landowners, and the decision appears, at the very least, to give more time for opponents to organize and appeal. Even as the decision was coming down, indigenous groups in the upper Midwest were formalizing a pact to battle the pipeline, and thousands of people have already signed up to come to the region when construction season begins, next spring, using civil disobedience to block construction if necessary. It was one more strange moment in the tortured, twisted KXL saga, which has seen half a dozen times when the pipeline almost got approved.

In those six years, much else has happened. We’ve seen the four hottest years on record for the planet. Some of the windiest storms ever measured have done stunning damage to coasts and islands. The steadily rising ocean, the mass death of coral, the enormous migration of people fleeing from drought. Six years ago, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was three hundred and ninety parts per million; now it’s well past the four-hundred-parts-per-million mark, amid signs that forests and oceans have begun to lose their capacity to absorb carbon.

So, was the fight worth it? Does it make sense to keep it up, perhaps still against the odds? The answer, I think, lies in the other things that have happened over those years…

Read the whole post here.

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