21 states file lawsuit against Biden for revoking Keystone XL pipeline permit

U.S. attorneys general from 21 states have filed a lawsuit against President Biden and members of his administration for rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of the new administration.

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The suit filed in the U.S. Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeks to undo Biden’s attempt during his first day in office to end the building of the 1,200 mile-long pipeline in Canada and the US.

Keystone XL pipeline route map
Keystone XL pipeline route map

In 2019, former U.S. President Donald Trump approved the permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline. 

Texas AG Ken Paxton announced on March 17, 2021, that Texas and Montana were filing a multistate complaint against the Biden administration for revoking the 2019 Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The multistate lawsuit alleges that President Biden does not have the unilateral authority to change energy policy that Congress has set.

In a press release, Texas AG Paxton said, “Since his first day in office, President Biden has made it his mission to undo all the progress of the previous administration, with complete disregard for the Constitutional limits on his power. His decision to revoke the pipeline permit is not only unlawful but will also devastate the livelihoods of thousands of workers, their families, and their communities,”

Adding that, “This administration continues to tout imaginary green-energy jobs, without any recognition that their actions in the real world will make it impossible for hard-working Americans to put food on the table.”  

Montana’s attorney general, Austin Knudsen, commented that “The power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress — not the President. This is another example of Joe Biden overstepping his constitutional role to the detriment of Montanans,”.

AG Knudsen added, “There is not even a perceived environmental benefit to his actions. His attempt to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline is an empty virtue signal to his wealthy coastal elite donors. It shows Biden’s contempt for rural communities in Montana and other states along the pipeline’s path that would benefit from and support the project.”

The suit is joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. ​

Last month, Joe Manchin the Democrat committee chair of the Senate energy committee urged Biden to reverse his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline project, arguing that the project provides union jobs and is a safer mode of transport than transporting the oil via rail or trucks. 

The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has not yet responded publicly about the lawsuit by the 21 states challenging the Biden administration’s revocation of the project’s permit.

The project was expected to contribute approximately $2.4 billion to Canada’s GDP and generate more than $7 million in property taxes in the first year in service. The project was said to further advance North America’s energy independence mission. 

On March 18, 2021, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney extended his gratitude to the U.S. states that joined together to challenge the Biden administration’s decision to veto the Keystone XL pipeline. 

Premier Kenney said that his government has been in touch with the attorney generals heading the lawsuit in the US.

“We have been encouraging their efforts. This is their own initiative, and I appreciate knowing that you’ve got nearly half of the American state governments who are standing up for their citizens, for jobs, for energy security, and for the US-Canada relationship. This is really encouraging,”, Jason Kenney said on March 18.

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