NRDC & Partners Sue—Again—Over Flawed Keystone XL Pipeline Approvals

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Originally published by NRDC, Expert Blog

Despite losing in court multiple times, the Trump administration is continuing to try to push through the dirty tar sands pipeline.

The fight to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline continues with a new lawsuit, filed yesterday by NRDC, Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, and the Sierra Club. The lawsuit challenges the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s approval to construct the pipeline on approximately 44 miles of federally controlled public lands in Montana, as well as the flawed environmental reviews by both the Bureau and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Indigenous Environmental Network, Rosebud Sioux tribe, and Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation are also leading pending challenges to Keystone XL in the same court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

Despite repeatedly losing in court, the Trump administration just doesn’t get it,” says NRDC senior attorney Jackie Prange. “Its latest approvals to try to greenlight the dangerous pipeline are just as flawed and illegal as those previously struck down by the courts.”

According to the complaint, the Bureau’s and Fish and Wildlife Service’s reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act include the same errors and omissions as earlier versions that were ruled illegal by a federal court in 2018. The lawsuit also challenges the Bureau’s greenlighting of the pipeline under federal land management statutes, a decision made based on flawed data and outdated spill response plans.

TC Energy’s Keystone XL has now been the center of ongoing legal and legislative battles for more than a decade. The proposed pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Canada to oil refineries on the Gulf Coast. In addition to threatening water, wildlife, and public health along its route, the fossil fuel infrastructure would also lock in more climate-devastating carbon pollution.

President Obama agreed the risks were too high and vetoed the project in 2015, but President Trump attempted to revive it soon after taking office. His administration has since made numerous attempts to fast-track its approval, and the government of Alberta, Canada, announced in March that it would invest billions to help the long-delayed project move forward.

We will fight to defeat [these latest approvals],” Prange says, “and to  ensure this threat to our water, people, wildlife and climate is never built.”

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