“When this fight began, people thought ‘Big Oil’ couldn’t be beat,” said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, who led the first sit-ins against Keystone XL at the White House in 2011. “But when enough people rise up, we’re stronger even than the richest fossil fuel companies.”
The fight against Keystone XL also presaged other battles over the construction of oil and gas pipelines from South Dakota to New York.
“The era of building fossil fuel pipelines without scrutiny of their potential impact on climate change and on local communities is over,” said Anthony Swift, director of the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defence Council.
Whole segments of Keystone XL, including one that crosses the US-Canadian border, have already been built. Even without Keystone XL, two new pipelines are under construction that, once completed, will provide oil sands producers with more than enough capacity for crude exports.
Jane Kleeb, the chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party who has been one of Keystone XL’s most prominent opponents, said other projects should now be shut in the face of the climate crisis and concerns about water pollution. Activists have now turned their focus to Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 in Minnesota.