We explain Keystone XL, America’s zombie pipeline

What's filled with the remains of living organisms, poses a threat to humanity, and keeps coming back from the dead? No, not that. This. Meet Keystone XL, America's favorite zombie pipeline. It would transport up to 830,000 barrels of dirty oil a day from the Canadian tar sands. Just like those pesky reanimated corpses, Keystone has refused to die for over seven years. So, to recap. 2008: TransCanada files its first application for Keystone XL. 2010: signs of approval. 2012: Obama delays the decision. He later rejects the application, but says "Hey, apply again." Later that year, they do, but then two years later Obama says, "Stop. No. Climate change … sort of." In 2015, Congress tries to sneak it by Obama who then reject the permit one final time and the people rejoice and things stay a little bit cooler. But now, America's current White Walker-in-Chief wants its resurrection.

"Keystone pipeline." First, Trump says Keystone will create 28,000 construction jobs. Actually, it would only create 10,400 jobs. The actual number of permanent jobs? Just 35. Second, Trump claims Keystone XL will boost U.S. steel production, but TransCanada bought a ton of the pipe for Keystone over five years ago from Indian, Russian, and Italian companies and prices are less than half of what they were in 2012. The oil sands will only be profitable if prices soar to at least eighty dollars a barrel. The thing is, Keystone XL isn't just another pipeline. Tar sands oil emits seventeen percent more carbon dioxide than your average crude oil. It will also run over the expansive Ogallala Aquifer, which provides irrigation to farms in eight states. And then there's indigenous rights.

Keystone XL completely disregards Native Nations' tribal sovereignty. It would carry oil within a hundred miles of a dozen tribal lands, and veer within walking distance of the Fort Peck and Cheyenne River reservations. But could Trump actually raise this undead pipeline from its bureaucratic grave? It's not as simple as an executive memorandum. On January 26, Trump asked the State Department to decide on the latest Keystone XL application within 60 days, but TransCanada also needs a key right-of-way permit in Nebraska and never underestimate Nebraskans' ability to put up a hell of a fight. Til then, keep your brains close, and pipelines closed-ster. Check out Grist for ongoing coverage of Keystone XL..