Photo by the U.S. Department of State
The Keystone XL route through Nebraska. The original route is in red. The most recent proposal is in black.
President Donald Trump signed executive orders Tuesday backing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline projects.Trump added only one stipulation – that American steel be used for the underground pipelines.
Constructoin of the billion-dollar projects was stopped in the last years of the President Obama's administration, after sustained protests.
Protestors have long been concerned that a leak in the line will pollute drinking water. The protesters also call for an end to fossil fuel production.
The Keystone XL pipeline would go through Nebraska. The project was put on hold in November 2015 following legal battles, protests by landowners, environmentalists and Native Americans, and finally, an executive order by the White House.
Gov. Pete Ricketts said Tuesday that even with Trump's action, the Keystone XL line must still win approval from Nebraska authorities. A lawsuit is currently underway that challenges the constitutionality of a foreign-owned company's claim of eminent domain in the U.S.
The Dakota Access line stalled in December after large, sustained protests halted construction about 50 miles south of Bismark, N.D.
At the instructions of the White House, the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to look again for another alternative route.
The Keystone pipeline originates in Alberta, Canada, the source of heavy tar oil extracted from sand (tar sands.) Concerns about tar sand pollution is greater than that of ordinary crude oil. Crude oil floats atop water and can be skimmed off, but tar sand oil contains a dilutent that keeps it from floating on the surface.
The Dakota Access line begins in North Dakota near the Candian border. Both pipelines are also expected to carry light, sweet crude Baakan oil from the Dakotas to terminals in Illinois and Texas.
The route of the Dakota pipeline runs below Lake Oahe, which is part of the Missouri River. That was the site of the protests last fall that turned bloody at times. Activists accused law enforcement of brutality. Authorities said activists destroyed construction equipment.
More than 500 people were arrested there in November, the local Morton County Sheriff's Office said.