Trump's Keystone XL Permit To Face Legal Challenge From Environmental Groups

Trump's Keystone XL Permit To Face Legal Challenge From Environmental Groups

When President Trump initiated the process in January of getting both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines approved, he also said new pipelines would be required to use USA steel.

The U.S. State Department issued a permit for the project earlier this month, though Nebraska regulators still must review and decide whether to approve the proposed route through their state.

"The Sierra Club action keeps the environmental agenda in the headlines as the State Department's approval gave a boost to TransCanada's efforts to cross the finish line on Keystone XL", he said.

Also joining the lawsuit are Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. and the Sierra Club.

The Keystone XL would run from Canada to Steele City in Nebraska, where it would meet up with an existing pipeline network connected to US refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Some of the American Indian activists who fought against the equally contested Dakota Access Pipeline are transferring their anti-pipeline furor to Keystone.

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The perpetrators had reportedly tried to burn holes in some sections of the pipeline where it is above ground, at valve sights. Many protests have occurred from two American Indian tribes who say it threatens their water supply and cultural sites.

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Their lawsuit says that review minimises or ignores significant environmental impacts of Keystone XL, which will carry a particularly dirty type of crude oil, "including harm to land, air, water, and wildlife". At that point it will connect to an existing pipeline network that will transport oil to the Gulf of Mexico region. But Barack Obama spent all eight years of his presidency prioritizing and championing the radical environmental cause. The State Department ignored much of this evidence in its haste to approve KXL under a 60-day deadline set by President Trump and relied exclusively on an outdated EIS. Also, the approval of this project has caused people to wonder if the Keystone XL Pipeline project is opening the door for several other similar projects.

Northern Plains, a Montana-based conservation and family agriculture group, is challenging the permit based on outdated and incomplete information used to determine the project's threat to the health of water, land and communities the pipeline crosses, the group said.

A separate suit (pdf) filed on Monday by the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA) further contends that Trump's permit violates the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

"Further, we are deeply concerned that by allowing this Canadian firm to use foreign steel from countries like India and Italy, which have a history of dumping steel products in the United States market at unfair, illegal prices, you are establishing a precedent that will have the effect of costing USA jobs and undermining the spirit of your Presidential Memorandum", it said.

TransCanada needs the Public Service Commission, an independent five-member elected board, to approve its 275-mile route through Nebraska before it can move forward with eminent domain to force easements from landowners who refuse to give them voluntarily and begin construction. TransCanada still has to secure a permit for the pipeline to cross Nebraska.

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