Oil & Gas Pipelines: Standing Rock, Keystone XL, and More

Over the past decade, opposition to several oil and gas pipeline projects has united environmentalists, Native Americans, and rural landowners of all political backgrounds across North America. The Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines have been the most high-profile of these projects and have faced the most fierce resistance.

The Keystone XL project is now officially dead — President Joe Biden revoked the presidential permit for the project in early 2021 and the company behind the project, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), pulled the plug on it soon after.

The Dakota Access pipeline, which was completed against the wishes of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is currently undergoing an environment review led by the administration. Meanwhile, the company has secured permission from all states along its route to double its capacity.

This is a collection of Journal articles related to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines — as well as other pipeline projects across North America — and environmental and Indigenous activists’ struggles against these projects.

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Mountain Valley Pipeline Pushed Forward on False Claims

May 31, 2023 – Claims that MVP is needed for energy security or demand — or that it is nearly built and has no legal hurdles ahead — are contradicted by data.

Michele Bustamante, Amy Mall, and Tom Rutigliano

‘A Slap in the Face’: Pipeline Violates Civil Rights, say New Yorkers

February 11, 2022 – Residents have been protesting National Grid’s pipeline, which bypasses wealthier, Whiter Brooklyn areas, since 2020.

Greta Moran The Guardian

Protesters Against Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline Face Arrests and Rubber Bullets

August 10, 2021 – Project will pipe the ‘dirtiest fuel left on the planet’ across Minnesota’s pristine lakes and wetlands.

Michael Sainato The Guardian

Celebrities Call on Biden and Harris to Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline

February 10, 2021 – Indigenous leaders, environmental groups, and stars including Cher and Robert Downey Jr. urge White House in letter.

Nina Lakhani The Guardian

Pressure Mounts Against Line 3 Pipeline Project

January 27, 2021 – $3 billion tar sands pipeline expansion project faces renewed resistance from Indigenous rights activists and environmentalists.

Fiona McLeod

US Pipeline Projects Move Forward Amid Covid-19 Crisis

April 30, 2020 – Environmental advocates call for nationwide moratorium on pipeline construction and approvals, citing threats to environment, vulnerable communities, and workers.

Fiona McLeod

Alberta Props Up Keystone XL Project With $7.5 Billion Cash Injection

April 3, 2020 – Cash promise for the controversial oil pipeline comes just days after province cut $100 million from public education citing a funds crunch due covid lockdowns.

Ron Johnson

Nebraska Court Removes Last Permitting Roadblock to Keystone XL

August 26, 2019 – Anti-pipeline advocates hang their hopes on existing lawsuits and Democrats.

Zoe Loftus-Farren

FBI and Police Monitoring Jordan Cove Anti-Pipeline Activists

August 8, 2019 – Emails reveal latest example of heightened scrutiny and surveillance of environmental and Indigenous groups.

Jason Wilson and Will Parrish The Guardian

Grandpa Scales Tree to Protest Trans Mountain Pipeline

May 1, 2019 – Seventy-one-year-old Terry Christenson says he’s doing it for his grandchildren and their children

Ron Johnson

Court Halts Work on Keystone XL, Says Trump Admin Didn’t Consider Environment

November 9, 2018 – District court judge rules feds “jumped the gun” by pushing forward with the pipeline

Oliver Milman The Guardian

Last Stand in the Swamp: Activists Fight Final Stretch of Dakota Access Pipeline

October 16, 2018 – Opponents of the 160-mile Bayou Bridge pipeline, which will cross Native American land and 700 bodies of water, have chained themselves to machinery

Lauren Zanolli The Guardian

Queering the Environmental Movement

October 1, 2018 – Two Spirits are reclaiming their collective identity in the battle to protect Turtle Island.

Bani Amor

Time to Step Up Pressure Against the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines

August 15, 2018 – Work on both pipelines have been temporarily halted due to vacated federal permits and multiple environmental violations

Lorne Stockman

Mexico’s Standing Rock? Sempra, TransCanada Face Indigenous Pipeline Resistance South of Border

January 3, 2018 – Yaqui and Otomi communities challenge natural gas projects on the ground, in court

Steve Horn

Nebraska Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, Despite Opposition

November 20, 2017 – Pipeline opponents have 30 days to appeal the decision

Ron Johnson

The Energy East Pipeline is Dead, but Three Tar Sands Pipeline Projects Remain

October 11, 2017 – Anti-pipeline activists celebrate victory, caution against complacence

An Unlikely Alliance Holds Strong against Keystone XL

October 3, 2017 – In the fields of Nebraska, Jane Kleeb has grown a bipartisan coalition of farmers, ranchers, tribes and environmental advocates to fight an international pipeline.

Gail Ablow

Pennsylvania Nuns Build Chapel in Middle of Cornfield in Effort to Block Pipeline

July 20, 2017 – Catholic order files religious freedom lawsuit to keep Atlantic Sunrise pipeline off their land

Advocates Plan Solar Installations Along Keystone XL Route

July 11, 2017 – Environmental groups hope to block pipeline’s path, promote renewable energy as Nebraska ponders pipeline approval

Ron Johnson

Indigenous Storytelling at Standing Rock

July 7, 2017 – A conversation with Myron Dewey, co-director of Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock

Ed Rampell

Goldman Sacks-Backed Firm Invests Big in Oil-by-Rail Plan Along Keystone XL Pipeline Route

June 13, 2017 – New deal will facilitate transportation of tar sands from Alberta to Oklahoma

Steve Horn

Battle Lines Being Drawn Over Keystone XL Again

March 29, 2017 – Pending Nebraska permit could prove a deal-breaker; Environmentalists and Indigenous groups promise direct action, legal resistance

Ron Johnson

Private Investor Divests $34.8m from Firms Tied to Dakota Access Pipeline

March 2, 2017 – Norwegian sustainable investment manager Storebrand hopes action will encourage other investors to divest from project

Julia Carrie Wong The Guardian

Over 70 Arrested at Standing Rock as Company Aims to Finish Dakota Access Pipeline

February 2, 2017 – Arrests came one day after federal officials suggested that government could soon approve the final stage of construction

Sam Levin The Guardian

Trump Greenlights Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines

January 24, 2017 – Environmentalists, indigenous activists vow to 'resist with all of their power’

Zoe Loftus-Farren

Protests Escalate Over Louisiana Pipeline by Company Behind Dakota Access

January 16, 2017 – Residents are making themselves heard about the disputed Bayou Bridge pipeline

In Win for Standing Rock Protectors Army Corps Denies Key Permit for Dakota Access Pipeline

December 5, 2016 – Battle is won but the war isn’t over yet, warn camp leaders

Julia Carrie Wong The Guardian

Trudeau’s Approval of Kinder Morgan, Line 3 Pipelines Is a Failure in Climate Leadership

December 1, 2016 – Environmentalists, First Nations gear up for long fight against tar sands oil pipelines

Nations Rising

December 1, 2016 – Across North America Indigenous people are pushing for a renewable energy future.

Ron Johnson

Army Corp of Engineers Ordered Police to Arrest Standing Rock Water Protectors

November 3, 2016 – Police deployed pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets in 'standoff with protestors'

Sam Levin Nicky Wolf The Guardian

Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence Tied to US Military

November 1, 2016 – TigerSwan has been involved in US interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq

Steve Horn

Standing Rock: Images and Notes From the Field

September 12, 2016 – The Dakota Access Pipeline has rallied Native Americans tribes like no other issue in recent history

Sara Lafleur-Vetter

In the Pipeline’s Path

September 1, 2016 – The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is one among several projects threatening rural Appalachian landscapes and communities.

William H. Funk

Native American Protesters Will Defy North Dakota Pipeline Construction ‘For as Long as it Takes’

August 22, 2016 – Some 2,000 activists have descended on the site of the $3.7 billion pipeline construction project

Jason Wilson The Guardian

TransCanada Complains to NAFTA, Sues US for $15 bn Over Keystone XL Rejection

June 30, 2016 – Environmentalists respond by criticizing closed-door trade deals that favor corporations

Ron Johnson

Environmentalists, First Nations Vow Summer of Action Against Trans Mountain Pipeline

May 26, 2016 – Canadian regulators’ OK of the tar sands pipeline expansion draws flack from activists

Trans Mountain and Energy East Pipelines Delayed in Face of Mounting Protests

February 1, 2016 – Trudeau government announces new climate test and consultation with Indigenous Peoples on all major resource projects

Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

November 6, 2015 – President says transporting crude oil from Canada won't help the economy, lower gas prices, or increase the United States' energy security

Zoe Loftus-Farren

Evidence at TransCanada’s Keystone XL Permit Renewal Hearing Sheds Light On Serious Pipeline Risks

August 1, 2015 – Documents reveal company failed to follow the federally mandated code of construction while building the pipeline's southern route.

Julie Dermansky

Keystone Protesters Tracked at Border After FBI Spied on ‘Extremists’

June 8, 2015 – More than 18 months after federal investigation violated internal rules, activists say they were still watchlisted at the airport, visited at home by a terrorism task force and detained for hours because they ‘seemed like protesters’

Adam Federman

Why Is FBI Spying on Opponents of Keystone XL Pipeline?

May 14, 2015 – An interview with the Journal’s Adam Federman

Journal Staff

Revealed: FBI Violated Its Own Rules While Spying on Keystone XL Opponents

May 12, 2015 – Internal agency documents show that FBI failed to get approval before cultivating informants and opening files on protesters in Texas

Adam Federman Paul Lewis

Power Play

March 2, 2015 – The oil and gas industry’s political connections and lobbying prowess are well known. Its ties to intelligence and law enforcement agencies have become just as formidable.

Adam Federman

Heard about the FBI Tracking of Keystone XL Activists? It’s Worse than You Thought.

February 26, 2015 – The energy industry is now firmly hitched to the national security state.

Adam Federman

Obama Vetoes Bill Approving Keystone XL Pipeline

February 24, 2015 – GOP to schedule an override vote by March 3

Maureen Nandini Mitra

Will Obama Veto the Keystone XL Bill?

February 12, 2015 – Ball is in the president's court after Senate passes bill approving the controversial oil pipeline project

Anastasia Pantsios Ecowatch

Keystone Pipeline: Oil Price Drop Will Worsen Climate Impact, EPA Warns

February 3, 2015 – Falling oil prices could mean higher carbon pollution for the controversial pipeline, a finding that gives Obama new cause to reject the project

Suzanne Goldenberg The Guardian

The Keystone XL Pipeline Debate is Right Where We Want It

January 8, 2015 – The fight against the pipeline has energized the environmental movement

Jamie Henn

President Obama Will Veto Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, White House says

January 6, 2015 – Keystone supporters do not have the 67 votes needed to overcome a presidential veto

Susan Goldenberg The Guardian

TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline Faces Stiff Opposition at Home

November 25, 2014 – With public protests on the rise, Ontario and Quebec to work together to ensure climate change is addressed before project is approved

Top PR Firm Advises TransCanada to Target Greens Opposed to Its Latest Pipeline Project

November 18, 2014 – Leaked documents indicate that the Canadian oil transport company is desperate to build public support for its alternative to Keystone XL

Green Group Warns Keystone XL May be Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack. But Will the Warning Backfire?

June 17, 2014 – NextGen report could lead to a blowback against peaceful protesters

Adam Federman

Thousands March at ‘Reject and Protect’ Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline

April 28, 2014 – Cowboy and Indian Alliance calls on “Man Who Helps the People” to protect America's land and water


Environmentalists Could Win the Keystone XL Battle and Still Lose the War

April 15, 2014 – Will the KXL fight be environmentalists’ Vietnam?

James William Gibson

In Wake of State Dept Report on Keystone XL, Enviros Pledge to Keep Fighting

January 31, 2014 – “The President has all the information he needs to reject this pipeline,” Keystone opponents say

Journal Staff

Koch Brothers Could Make $100B Profit if Keystone XL Pipeline is Built

October 21, 2013 – New report reveals billionare brothers own up to 2 million acres in Alberta's tar sands region

Stefanie Spear Ecowatch

Keystone XL Opponents Hold the Line

September 24, 2013 – A dispatch and slide show from 350.org’s “Draw the Line” rallies

Julie Dermansky

TransCanada Is Spying on Keystone XL Opponents

June 20, 2013 – Company has compiled dossiers on protesters and shared them with law enforcement

Adam Federman

Keystone XL Isn’t the Only Key

June 7, 2013 – Canadian oil producers seeking to expand existing pipelines to get tar sands oil to the US market

Ron Johnson

Keystone Opponents Target Obama at SF Fundraiser

April 4, 2013 – Environmentalist base is worried about president’s waffling on tar sands pipeline

Journal Staff

US Marine Vet Fights TransCanada Over Keystone XL

March 13, 2013 – Michael Bishop says company’s permit application is fraudulent and contests eminent domain claim

Julie Dermansky

Can the New EPA Chief Stop Obama Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline?

March 5, 2013 – Gina McCarthy's promotion at the EPA will not allay fears that a recent State Department report means KXL is now a done deal

Richard Schiffman The Guardian

Activists Dismayed by State Dept’s Environmental Assessment of Keystone XL

March 2, 2013 – Draft report released today says pipleline will have little impact on tar sands oil extraction

Maureen Nandini Mitra

The Kochs and the Keystone XL Pipeline

February 15, 2013 – Billionaire brothers’ use of fronts for corporate donations to politicians was illegal until Citizens United decriminalized this game

Greg Palast

Obama Faces Keystone Dilemma After Senate Urges Pipeline Approval

January 24, 2013 – No reason to deny project, bipartisan majority says, but others in Congress press Obama to back up climate change commitment

Suzanne Goldenberg The Guardian

Crime Accompanies Flow of Oil Workers into North Dakota

December 12, 2012 – State’s Attorney General cautions that more crime is a function of more people, but locals remain wary

James William Gibson

Keystone XL Victory a Tale of Ambition and Overreach

January 18, 2012 – Greens Pushed Just Right, GOP Pushed Too Far

Journal Staff

With Keystone XL Delayed, Tar Sands Fight Turns to Enbridge Pipeline

December 5, 2011 – Indigenous Groups Organizing to Halt Pipeline through British Columbia

Ron Johnson

An Arithmetic Proof Against the Keystone XL Pipeline

September 28, 2011 – Do the Math: Burning the Tar Sands = Climate Catastrophe

Tom Athanasiou

Keystone XL Will Not Reduce Oil Imports from the Middle East

August 30, 2011 – We Won’t Be Able to Break Our Dependence on Unsavory Regimes Until We Break Our Dependence on Oil Altogether

Journal Staff

Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein Call for Civil Disobedience to Block Keystone XL Pipeline

June 27, 2011 – If Approved, Keystone Would Increase US Oil Imports from Alberta Tar Sands

Tina Gerhardt

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