The hotly contested Keystone XL Pipeline set to bring crude oil from Canada into the U.S. is chugging along. Developer TransCanada is preparing for construction in Montana and South Dakota, and the company decided it would give the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe a heads up in a letter on Wednesday. On Thursday, Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier offered just four ominous words in response.
“We will be waiting.”
Native American tribes in the Midwest have been opposing the 1,179-mile long pipeline since 2008, and they’re not letting up. They nearly won the fight in 2015, when former President Barack Obama rejected a key permit. Then Trump came along and reversed that decision.
Opponents worry what an oil spill could mean for their water, their land, and their health. And they have reason to worry. Keystone XL’s sister pipeline, Keystone, suffered a spill last year in South Dakota.
Anyway, TransCanada wants to begin construction in Montana and South Dakota come 2019, so it’s getting ready. That means delivering construction materials and clearing out trees and plants to lay the groundwork for pipe installation. The project is still wrapped up in the courts, though. Tribes are challenging its approval, and landowners are arguing to keep their land, so it’s not a done deal. That’s not stopping the company from doing what it can, though.
As Chairman Frazier made clear, he and his people will be waiting.