Unlike Keystone’s northern leg, which has been mired in court challenges and political skirmishes since 2008, Flanagan South is already in the works, after about two years of negotiating with landowners along the route and going through its permitting process. Once completed, it will pass over approximately 1,950 wetlands and waterways, including the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
For Flanagan’s approval, the Army Corps used a permitting process called Nationwide Permit 12, a process that gives expedited approval to projects like access roads and pipelines that do not “result in the loss of greater than 1/2-acre of waters of the United States for each single and complete project.”
In Flanagan’s case, the Corps treated each of Flanagan’s water crossings — about 1,950 wetlands and waterways — as a single and complete project, thus allowing a pipeline that will impact about 25 acres of streams and 38 acres of wetlands in Missouri alone to qualify for the NWP 12 process.
“It’s not just a matter of one pipeline — there are a number of different pipelines that are all trying to do the same thing and that’s allow the tar sands development to increase in Canada by getting increasing amounts to the market,” Hayes said. “I think that while the public has been largely focused on Keystone XL, the Corps and other agencies are quietly approving these projects without allowing the public to become involved in any way.”
Excerpts from "Corporation Exploiting Major Loophole To Quickly Build 600-Mile Tar Sands Pipeline" By Katie Valentine