Lawsuit Challenges Keystone XL Pipeline Permit

The plan by TransCanada to restart its efforts to build the Keystone XL pipeline has run into a lawsuit filed by a coalition of environmental groups.

The coalition including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups challenged TransCanada’s federal permit saying much more environmental scrutiny is needed.

Their lawsuit contends the initial environmental review completed 3 years ago is inadequate and outdated and underestimated how much the pipeline would encourage tar sands oil production in Canada.

The U.S. State Department issued the permit earlier in March but it still must be reviewed and approved by Nebraska regulators. the pipeline will run through three states—Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. In Nebraska, it will hook up to existing pipelines that will carry the out south to Cushing where it will be pumped through the southern leg of the Keystone that was finished a few years ago.

Officials with TransCanada and the State Department are not commenting. But the lawsuit was filed in Montana where they contend the 2014 report “downplays or ignores other significant environmental impacts of Keystone XL, including harms to land, air, water, and wildlife.”


Some of the other groups involved in the lawsuit are the Northern Plains Resource Council, Bold Alliance, Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity is the same group that filed an ethics complaint with the Oklahoma Bar Association against former Attorney General Scott Pruitt who became the EPA Administrator in the Trump administration. The State Bar confirmed this week it has started an investigation. The Center and an OU law professor contend Pruitt violated ethics when he denied during his confirmation hearing to using private email to carry out state business as Attorney General.

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