Grijalva on Keystone Approval: “This Wasn’t Done to Help the Country, It Was Done to Spite Native Americans and our Environment”

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today said the Trump administration’s formal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project was a slap in the face to Native Americans and an intentional blow against our nation’s environment that would not benefit the American people.

“You’d think this administration would have learned by now that you can’t govern just by rushing through terrible ideas,” Grijalva said. “This wasn’t done to help the country. It was done to spite Native Americans and our environment. After a careful review, the Obama administration found that approving this project was not in the national interest. It took Trump officials two months to slap together a justification for doing it anyway. This administration and its apologists in Washington seem to take a perverse joy in harming Native American rights and our environment just to prove they’re in charge. The fight is not over and this approval will end up in court.”

Grijalva has been a leading voice against Keystone for years, publishing a Feb. 26, 2014, New York Times op-ed urging then-President Obama to reject the proposal. He has led opposition on Capitol Hill through hearings, events, statements on the floor of the House of Representatives, public solidarity with Native American leaders, filing information requests with federal officials, highlighting Keystone contractor conflicts of interest, and calling for a Government Accountability Office investigation of the State Department approval process. Grijalva has authored a steady stream of op-eds demanding full transparency and an honest accounting of the pipeline’s environmental and cultural impacts, including one in January for Native News Network.

The pipeline is not yet a certainty. According to a March 23 report in Politico Pro:

Local pipeline protesters in Nebraska are focusing on countering pipeline developer TransCanada’s efforts to convince state regulators to approve the pipeline route, but national environmental groups say they are planning to test TransCanada’s political influence and the Trump administration’s legal prowess.

The National Resource Defense Council is mulling legal action pending a review of the State Department’s permit decision, which is expected to be released in the next few days. Specifically, NRDC wants to see if the permit is based on the same environmental impact statement that was part of TransCanada’s Obama-era application, said NRDC Canada Project Director Anthony Swift. “To move forward with a decision legally, the administration would have to have done an updated EIS. Any approval based on that early 2014 environmental review is very subject to legal challenges,” Swift said.

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