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1st piece of disputed Keystone XL pipeline finished

1st piece of disputed Keystone XL pipeline finished

Washington, May 26 - Neftegaz.RU. A Canadian company has built the 1st piece of the disputed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline across the US border and started work on labour camps in Montana and South Dakota. But it has not resolved a courtroom setback that would make it hard to finish the $8 billion project.

The 1,900 km pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska was stalled for much of the past decade before President Trump was elected and began trying to push it through to completion. Environmentalists and Native American tribes are bitterly opposed to the line because of worries over oil spills and that burning the fuel would make climate change worse.

Work finally started in April at the border crossing in remote northern Montana. That 1.2-mile section has now been completed except for some site reclamation activity, TC Energy spokeswoman Sara Rabern said.

The company's 3-year construction timeline was put into doubt following a May 15 ruling from a federal judge in Montana that cancelled a key permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers. The permit is needed to build the line across hundreds of streams, wetlands and other water bodies along its route.

The ruling affected all new oil and gas pipeline construction and was appealed by the Trump administration and TC Energy. The work in South Dakota began amid high tensions between South Dakota Governor and 2 Native American tribes that have been outspoken opponents of the pipeline.

The governor is trying to force 2 tribes - the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes and the Oglala Sioux Tribe - to remove coronavirus checkpoints they have set up on federal and state highways in an attempt to keep infections away from their reservations. The highways that the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes are monitoring connect to several potential construction sites of the proposed pipeline route, which skirts tribal lands.

Members of several tribes in Montana and North Dakota traveled to the border crossing for a small protest against the pipeline earlier this month.
Large protests against Keystone XL had been anticipated following the months-long protests, sometimes violent, against another oil pipeline project several years ago near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on the North Dakota-South Dakota state line.

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