Courtesy Intertribal Council on Utility Policy
A petition urging TransCanada Corp. to 'throw in the towel' on the Keystone XL pipeline, submitted on an actual towel.

TransCanada Urged to Throw in the Towel—Literally—on 'Zombie' Keystone XL

ICTMN Staff
12/28/15

It's a Zombie Apocalypse mopped up with an ink-soaked towel that's as dead as that parrot immortalized in the infamous Monty Python skit.

These are the metaphors, both literal and figurative, that groups opposing the Keystone XL pipeline have resorted to by way of urging its would-be builder, TransCanada, to admit defeat in the wake of President Barack Obama's November rejection of the proposal.

RELATED: Obama Rejects Keystone XL: 'Does Not Serve National Interest'

In a petition signed on an actual towel, issued on Christmas Eve by the Intertribal Council On Utility Policy (COUP) on behalf of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance and several other groups, the groups urged that the bid be withdrawn "in recognition of the fact that TransCanada has twice attempted to secure the required federal presidential construction permit and has now twice failed, following the November 6th Presidential denial and rejection of the federal application for the Keystone XL pipeline as not in the National Interest of the United States of America, including South Dakota!" the groups wrote in a petition sent to the energy giant, invoking the famed Monty Python skit. "This project will not happen! It is dead!! Deader than a Monty Python parrot pining for the fjords!! Keystone XL: Please, Throw in the Towel!!"

Obama's rejection of the proposal to pipe 800,000 or more barrels per day of bitumen crude from the Alberta oil sands in Canada southward for 1,700 miles to the Gulf of Mexico coast in Texas has apparently deterred neither South Dakota regulators nor TransCanada. On Tuesday December 22, the state dismissed a request to throw out the company's application to build the South Dakota portion of the pipeline, leaving the way open for the Public Utilities Commission to approve the project, the Associated Press reported. An an attorney for the company told AP that his client is still committed to the project and is proceeding in case a new president later this year could revive it.

And thus, just as the opposition had thought it was safe to relax for the holidays, came the news that hearings will resume before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission early in 2016.

"Just as the Good Folks in South Dakota were about to settle in ‘for a long winter’s nap’ at Christmas time, the news out of South Dakota’s capital spread that a ‘Zombie Pipeline’ now stalks the rural ranchlands, farms and traditional tribal homelands, still threatening the lands, lives and resources of western and central South Dakotans, thanks to the failure of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission to pull the plug on this defunct project," the petitioners said in a statement.

"What I find remarkable about the position that TransCanada is taking is that it seems to embody a lack of recognition of reality, that this project is, for all practical purposes, dead," said Robin Martinez, an attorney with a petition co-signer, the opposition group Dakota Rural Action, to AP.

But TransCanada is determined to carry on, an official told the newswire.

"The project has not been abandoned," TransCanada attorney William Taylor told AP. "TransCanada has not said this party is over. Rather, TransCanada has said, speaking with the voice of its chief executive officer, the company is absolutely committed to the project."

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