Environmental groups challenge Keystone XL pipeline approval

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executive order to permit construction because the environmental impact statement used as the basis for the permit was outdated and incomplete. "Piping some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through America's heartland would put at grave risk our land, water and climate".

In an open strategy session on Monday night, those on the call stressed that most energy insiders never thought resistance to Keystone- which would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta across the midwestern USA into Texas -would last long enough to stop it from being built well into 2017. Conservation groups are concerned another spill will happen if the Keystone XL pipeline is built.

Six environmental groups have sued President Trump's administration over its approval of a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. BNN looks at the numbers behind the pipeline and the hurdles the project still must overcome before it becomes a reality.

The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Keystone XL, which the State Department completed in January 2014 and did not update before issuing, severely underestimated the project's risky impacts on the climate, water resources, wildlife, and communities alongside the outlined pipeline route.

By approving the pipeline without public input and an up-to-date environmental assessment, the administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act, groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and the Northern Plains Resource Council said in their legal filing. The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, which is expected to issue its own permit for the pipeline soon, is also named as a defendant.

After months of fierce opposition from Native Americans and environmentalists, the controversial Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is finally carrying oil under Lake Oahe in North and South Dakota, as preparations are made to bring the project into full service. 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this evidence in its haste to approve KXL under a 60-day deadline set by President Trump and relied exclusively on an outdated EIS. "Now, no fossil fuel project on Earth goes unopposed", said climate activist Bill McKibben, pointing to a fracking ban passed in Maryland earlier that day and ongoing protests in Australia of the Adani coal mine. Earlier this week, the Trump administration formally began the process of dismantling carbon fuel and energy standards created to help the United States fulfill global climate agreements and stave off the worst effects of anthropogenic climate disruption.

And even if TransCanada did need to buy a lot of steel for the Keystone XL pipeline, it would have a tough time getting what it needed from US suppliers.

All lawsuits have been filed in U.S. District Court in Montana's Great Falls Division.

The lawsuits are just part of a larger strategy to defeat the pipeline. State regulators have yet to approve a plan for the pipeline's path in Nebraska, where the project is not popular among landowners.

  • Anthony Vega