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Austin Environmentalists Protest Keystone Pipeline Deal

Keystone pipeline sections in Illinois have already been constructed.
Photo by Keystone Pipeline System
Keystone pipeline sections in Illinois have already been constructed.

Protestors gathered in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Austin this afternoon to denounce a deal struck in Congress that would extend a payroll tax cut by two months in exchange for a measure to speed up a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline. The transcontinental pipeline would transport oil from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.  

“This pipeline will raise gas prices and kill jobs,” Trevor Lovell with Public Citizen’s Texas office said in a news release. “When the State Department was reviewing this permit application in October those facts were in contention, but it has now been established that this pipeline would do more to harm the US economy than to help it.”

The environmentalists accused the pipeline’s supporters of inflating claims regarding the number of jobs that would be created by Keystone’s construction, an issue that has been a major point of contention.

But the deal to fast track a decision on the pipeline doesn’t give its supporters much leverage, according to some Democrats.

“We feel as though we’re giving them the sleeve off a vest,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the Washington Post. “The bottom line is that Secretary of State Clinton has said that if they rush the process, they’re going to end the pipeline. So, it doesn’t make much sense. And the president is totally on board with that strategy.”

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.