NEBRASKA’S PUBLIC SERVICE Commission approved the Keystone XL pipeline Monday, eliminating a major regulatory hurdle to construction of a project that galvanized people across the U.S. into opposition. The decision comes days after the existing Keystone pipeline, to which the KXL will connect, spilled an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil onto agricultural land in South Dakota. To many pipeline opponents motivated by the inevitability of a spill, the contaminated land proves their point.

Those who have been fighting the pipeline for more than five years, and many more drawn into opposition via last year’s dramatic confrontation at Standing Rock, say the approval of KXL marks the beginning of the next phase of the pipeline battles. Opponents in Nebraska will have 30 days to appeal the decision and have promised lawsuits. “We have to do everything we can in order to make sure that this pipeline never gets built,” said Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb in a press conference after the decision.

Meanwhile, organizers are preparing to stand in the way of construction. A coalition including several tribes, native-led organizations, and environmental nonprofits released a call to action, asking people to sign up to “commit to creative peaceful resistance along the pipeline route when construction begins on KXL, likely next spring.” The statement asserts that anyone traveling to resist must undergo a training and remain peaceful.

Monday also marked the one-year anniversary of one of the most aggressive police actions against Dakota Access pipeline opponents, when police sprayed protesters with water cannons in freezing temperatures. Indeed, the new Keystone XL fight will take place in a climate where anti-pipeline organizing has become increasingly criminalized.

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