The State Department will announce its approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, unnamed government sources told the Associated Press, after President Donald Trump ordered the department to reopen its review of the pipeline.
The decision will clear the way for construction to begin on the "zombie pipeline," which would transport 35 barrels of oil a day from Canada's tar sands to refineries in south Texas.
Environmental groups are unanimous in their outrage.
"The Keystone XL pipeline is a disaster for people, wildlife and the planet," said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Trump administration is taking us dangerously off course by approving this dirty, dangerous pipeline."
Friends of the Earth (FoE) president Erich Pica added in a statement: "For almost a decade, Americans have fought to stop the dirty Keystone XL pipeline from polluting their air and water. We banded together to turn this pipeline into a leadership test on climate change and Trump flunked the exam."
Environmentalists and progressives also took to social media to voice their condemnation:
March 23, 2017
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Aside from its dire climate ramifications, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) pointed out earlier this week that troubling things are happening behind the scenes of the pipeline decision.
The pipeline won't be made of U.S. steel, as Trump promised during the presidential campaign—in fact, pipeline company TransCanada has threatened to continue suing the U.S. under NAFTA if the Trump administration forces the company to make Keystone XL out of American steel.
Moreover, State Department head Rex Tillerson had to recuse himself from the pipeline permit decision because of "conflicts of interest." Tillerson was the CEO of ExxonMobil before Trump picked him for secretary of state.
"Meanwhile, this zombie project remains what it always was for Americans: all risk and no reward," writes NRDC's Josh Axelrod. "It remains an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen: a risk to our shared global climate, our precious fresh water sources, and our farms and ranches across America's heartland. And more Americans are opposed to it than in favor: 48 percent to 42 percent."
Axelrod added: "President Trump and his team would do well to stop trying to polish this tarnished project into something it can never be—a good deal for Americans, American workers, and our shared environment."
FoE's Pica agreed. "Trump's decision will galvanize Americans, and further stiffen resistance to Trump's campaign to sacrifice our planet for Big Oil profits," Pica said. "The fight over Keystone XL is not over."