Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network

We woke up to the news that TC Energy had officially terminated the Keystone XL project. I was like, is this for real? Since 2010 this project has been at heart of all the fights against big oil I have been a part of. I started out just wanting to protect land, our women and children from man camps, to protect the water, our unique medicines, and to protect the sovereignty of our tribe to say no, we don’t want this project. It has shaped me, taught me much in organizing, an i made friends with people i would never have mingled with otherwise. Lasting friendships crossing racial, social, state and yes even party lines.


President Biden on his inauguration day canceled the international border crossing of the KXL pipeline effectively stalling construction. Over the next year and a half TC Energy started to pull ipe out of yards, and returned permits in states like South Dakota, however less visible areas like built pump stations or the border crossing itself were left untouched. We waited to se if th company would finally say they were terminating the project.


The GOP continued to play kickball with the idea of KXL using it as a political hot potato togarner support for their continued agena to rape and pillage Mother Earth.  Senator Manchin traveled to the tar sands this year to try and revive it and when the Ukraine war broke out that was just another excuse to push their rhetoric for big oil. Gas prices have risen and again the blame on Ukraine and pushing KXL. It’s all smoke and mirrors.


KXL would have carried dirty tar sands that are not used to make gasoline. It was always an export pipeline headed to China, not the so-called United States. The rising gas prices are a direct result of US and Canadian oil companies profiteering off the backs of everyday citizens. 

For example Shell reported a record 9.1 billion dollar profit first quarter earnings over 5.8 billion same first quarter of last year. BP had a 6.2 billion profit first quarter, and Exxon 5.48 billion profit. Each of these companies doubled or tripled their profits from the same time last year.


Gas gouging Bill

Last month the US House of Representatives passed a bill to combat gas gouging. It would direct the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on exploitive price of gas by oil companies. In a vote of 217 to 207  the bill squeaked by. Every republican voted against the bill including four democrats. 


It’s clear that KXL, the war in Ukraine, and climate disasters have zero influence on the reality of big oil holding hostage the American citizen’s pocket book. 


I’m glad that KXL has officially been terminated. It marks the end of one heck of a fight. TC Energy however continues to threaten Indigenious homelands and territories with the Transmountain pipeline and the expansion of the GTN Xpress fracked gas pipeline. 

“TC Energy just announced the final nail in the coffin for the Keystone XL pipeline project. We are thrilled with this news as this has been a long fought affair over years building collective support over a wide range of people, tribes, and groups. President Biden had denied the international border crossing for KXL on his first day in office, effectively stalling construction. Permits were later turned back over to states like in South Dakota, but it wasn’t until a final decision to scrap the project from the company that we could say the project is dead. 


Over the years an unlikely coalition of Tribal Nations, farmers and ranchers, and non profit groups joined together to fight back against the threat that this project posed to our homelands, water, and people. It brought to light issues of Tribal sovereignty,  free, prior, informed consent, water rights, eminent domain and set a precedent of how to fight back against big oil pipelines. 

While we celebrate this win, we must remember that TC Energy is still threatening Indigenous communities and sovereignty.  Transmountain pipeline threatens the Squamish and Tsleil Waututh, Wetʼsuwetʼen, and other tribal lands in so called British Columbia Canada. They also just announced the expansion of their GTN   Xpress fracked gas pipeline, threatening sensitive ecological biological environments including the northern Sound which is home to salmon and orca.

We must continue to stay vigilant to TC Energy and other companies that threaten our homelands, Earth Mother, our waters, an further exacerbate the climate crisis. 


Joye Braun, National Pipelines Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network 


Indigenous Rising Radio

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