States AGs lodge complaint against Keystone XL cancellation
Revoking the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline is a decision that rests with Congress, not the president, attorneys general in 21 states announced in a complaint this week against the Biden administration.
Texas Attorney Ken Paxton announced March 17 that he was joining the other states in filing a complaint against the Biden administration, arguing the president does not have the power to regulate interstate and international commerce by revoking the project's permit.
“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,” Paxton said in a statement.
President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015 rejected authorisation for the project on environmental grounds, though the Trump administration in 2017 reversed that decision almost as soon as the president entered office, saying the pipeline served the national interest.
Congress enacted a tax bill in 2011 that required the president to sign the permit or explain to lawmakers within 60 days why the project was not a national interest. In one of his first acts immediately after taking the oath of office in January, President Joe Biden withdrew the permit as part of his clean energy agenda.
Construction began last year on the 1,930-km project first envisioned more than a decade ago. If completed, it would bring as much as 830,000 barrels/day of oil from Alberta to a hub in Nebraska, where it would connect to other networks that feed facilities along the US Gulf Coast.
Montana’s attorney general estimated the project would create an estimated 42,000 jobs and US$2bn in associated earnings.
Apart from Republicans, the project enjoys some support from moderate Democrats. Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat Senator for West Virginia, in February argued the pipeline should be included in an “all-of-the-above” energy policy.
The project is led by Canada’s TC Energy and the federal Canadian government, neither of which weighed in on the US complaint.