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President Joe Biden stopping the Keystone XL pipeline has mixed reviews

“This is a big victory for indigenous rights, indigenous and tribal sovereignty,” said Begay. “For many years, indigenous nations and communities have worked tirelessly to deny and to push against the Keystone XL pipeline from crossing their territories because it threatens environment, it threatens water.”
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 5:45 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - One of President Joe Biden’s first actions is to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The project was proposed in 2008 and former President Donald Trump allowed a Canada/United States cross-border permit for the project. Early construction began last fall in Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

But with Biden revoking that permit, local organizations weighed in on what that means for them.

“Biden made this promise last Spring to stop the pipeline and for me personally that was a major moment where I was like ‘okay, I am committing to getting out to vote’,” said Jade Begay, NDN Collective’s climate justice campaign director. “If we weren’t able to elect President Biden, this wouldn’t have happened, we can be fairly positive that this wouldn’t have happened.”

Begay said for her and NDN Collective, hearing about Biden’s first day plans, was a deep sense of relief and gratitude. And she said this is both a climate action and a racial equity action.

“This is a big victory for indigenous rights, indigenous and tribal sovereignty,” said Begay. “For many years, indigenous nations and communities have worked tirelessly to deny and to push against the Keystone XL pipeline from crossing their territories because it threatens environment, it threatens water.”

TC Energy, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, declined an interview but put out a press release saying, “... it is disappointed with the expected action to revoke the existing Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The decision would overturn an unprecedented, comprehensive regulatory process that lasted more than a decade and repeatedly concluded the pipeline would transport much-needed energy in an environmentally responsible way while enhancing North American energy security. The action would directly lead to the layoff of thousands of union workers and negatively impact ground-breaking industry commitments to use new renewable energy as well as historic equity partnerships with Indigenous communities.

“Conservative politicians ran on a campaign that this pipeline would bring jobs and energy independency and the truth of the matter is that no fossil fuel project lives up to those expectations, in fact often times the jobs that are created by these infrastructure projects they don’t boost the job market,” said Begay. “In fact, they’re very quick turn over jobs so they don’t do any strong, long-lasting boost to our economy.”

Begay said Biden’s plans are a reason to celebrate but not to back down on the fight to stop climate change and create racial equity.

Governor Kristi Noem also put out a statement saying, “It’s unfortunate that President Biden is not standing up for American jobs and energy independence.”

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