The Keystone pipeline was an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States commissioned in 2010 and owned by TC Energy that was to run from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas and also to Cushing Oklahoma. The pipeline had significant opposition from environmentalists. In 2015, it was temporarily delayed by President Barack Obama. In January 2017, President Donald Trump took executive action to move the project forward, but on Jan. 20, 2021 President Joe Biden signed an executive order to revoke the permit. In June 2021, TC Energy abandoned plans for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Many American and Canadian Aboriginals opposed the Keystone Pipeline for various reasons, including possible damage to sacred sites, pollution and water contamination. Locally caught fish and untreated surface water would be at risk for contamination through oil sands extraction and are central to the diets of many indigenous people. Eminent domain was used extensively by TransCanada to acquire easements over private property. There were 34 takings against landowners in Texas. Twenty-two actions in South Dakota. Many owners agreed to grant easements obviating the need of condemnation. To garner support for the project, TransCanada claimed the project would put 20,000 workers to work and add $7 billion to the economy. In July 2013, President Obama stated “the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during construction of the pipeline, which might take a year of two, then after that we are talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.” Many were concerned that Keystone XL would not provide petroleum products for domestic use, but simply facilitate getting Alberta oil sands products to American coastal ports on the Gulf of Mexico for export to China and other countries. There was widespread fear of safety issues including possible explosions and other risks. President Obama cited the urgency of climate change as a key reason for his decision to reject the pipeline. In fact, tar sand oil is thicker, more acidic, and more corrosive than lighter conventional oil which increases the likelihood of that a pipeline carrying it will leak. Indeed, one study showed that between 2007 and 2010, pipelines moving tar sands oil leaked three times more per mile than other pipelines. Since it went into service in 2010, the original Keystone Pipeline system has leaked more than a dozen times. Complicating matters, leaks can be hard to detect. It is also more difficult to clean up since it sinks immediately to the bottom of a waterway.