Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Have Keystone XL Opponents Found Their Best Weapon?

Michael Bishop
Michael BishopPhotograph by Andrew D. Brosig/The Daily Sentinel via AP Photo

The slow-moving but rarely dull fight over the the Keystone XL, the proposed fourth and final leg of an extensive set of pipes carrying low-grade tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast of the U.S., has recently gained another subplot worthy of note, or even a movie for Gus Van Sant. Moreover, it presents an actions-speak-stronger-than-words “tell” of the Obama Administration’s intentions toward the Keystone XL, which continues to await the president’s approval.

This new subplot, brought to wider attention Wednesday by Keystone XL opponents such as Bold Nebraska and Credo, is a David and Goliath tale with a twist. Originally, it pit Texas landowner Michael Bishop against Calgary-based TransCanada, the pipeline builder and operator. Now it’s shaping up as Bishop vs. the U.S. government, or even President Obama himself, whom Bishop describes as “the man behind the curtain,” stone-walling required environmental reviews and operating without regard for the U.S. Constitution. (Because the Keystone XL crosses an international border, the U.S. State Department is charged with evaluating the line’s safety and advisability, and Obama must OK it.)