Energy Business

First Lawsuits Filed to Stop Trump Administration Keystone XL Pipeline Permit

Two lawsuits were filed in Montana on Thursday aiming to stop construction of the TransCanada Corp.’s (NYSE: TRP) Keystone XL pipeline. Both suits argue that the U.S. State Department erred when President Trump signed the executive order to permit construction because the environmental impact statement used as the basis for the permit was outdated and incomplete.

Among the groups filing one of the suits in federal district court were the Northern Plains Resource Council, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. The Indigenous Environmental Network and the North Coast Rivers Alliance filed the other.

In the first suit, plaintiffs argued that TransCanada, the U.S. State Department and Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon “ignored significant new information that bears on the project’s threat to the people, environment, and national interests of the United States.”

The complaint continues:

They have relied on an arbitrary, stale, and incomplete environmental review completed over three years ago, for a process that ended with the State Department’s denial of a cross-border permit. On information and belief, Defendants Secretary Zinke, United States Department of the Interior, and Bureau of Land Management are poised to issue additional approvals that rely on the same stale environmental review.

The other lawsuit also argues against the State Department’s environmental impact statement and adds that the permit to build Keystone XL also violates the Endangered Species Act, among other violations. In a statement, Indigenous Environmental Network executive director Tom Goldtooth said:

Indigenous peoples’ lands and waters are not here to be America’s environmental sacrifice zone. For too long, the U.S. Government has pushed around Indigenous peoples and undervalued our inherent rights, sovereignty, culture, and our responsibilities as guardians of Mother Earth and all life, while fueling catastrophic extreme weather and climate change with an addiction to fossil fuels. The time has come to keep fossil fuels in the ground and shut down risky extreme energy projects like the tar sands that are poisoning our families, wildlife, water sources and destroying our climate.

The lawsuits ask the court to issue an injunction setting aside the cross-border permit and any rights-of-way that have been granted and to prohibit any further construction of the pipeline.

Full details of the first lawsuit are available here and the second are available here.

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