“The Keystone XL is the final of four phases of the Keystone Pipeline system that brings highly corrosive oil called diluted bitumen (dilbit) from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico to be refined.
Oil sands, by far the most polluting of any fuel, require huge quantities of energy to be extracted and leave behind byproducts like “petcoke”, a high-sulphur coal-like substance that burns dirtier than coal.
The U.S. portion of the fourth phase would be built between the frontier town of Morgan, Montana and Steele City, Nebraska, where it would join existing pipelines headed south.
This final northern segment would cross several major rivers including the Red Rivers, the Missouri and the Yellowstone Rivers and pass over the Ogallala Aquifer, a shallow underground water table that supplies over a quarter of the United States’ irrigated land.
If it is completed, the pipeline would transport fuel equivalent to 181 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of 51 coal plants.
Though technically skirting the reservation’s borders, the proposed pipeline would pass between Pine Ridge and the Rosebud Reservoir, where communities draw their water.
“In our mind, that’s our water,” Plume told an August gathering in Bridger, South Dakota. “We love our water and we have to protect our water.”
Plume says the Lakota have been joined by non-native ranchers and farmers in places like Nebraska who fear contamination could ruin their cropland.
With the Alberta oil sand boom pumping out record levels of Canadian crude, accidents are on the rise. In March 2013, between 5,000 and 7,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude spilled from a gash in ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, leading to catastrophic environmental damage.”
Read more: IPS