Trump's Keystone XL pipeline permit back in court as indigenous group files complaint

By Robert Burnson and Alyza Sebenius on 4/7/2019
Photo: Trans Alaska pipeline crossing Koyukuk River.

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump's permit to restart TransCanada Corp.'s halted Keystone XL pipeline receives backlash from conservation groups who urged a Montana federal court to toss out the new permit.

In an earlier challenge to the $8 billion project, a Montana judge in November faulted the State Department’s environmental analysis. The new permit reinforces that the president’s authority isn’t subject to judicial review, but the administration will conduct environmental reviews and assess impacts on endangered species as required by law, a White House official said.

Read Keystone XL project critical to safely delivering energy to U.S.

Friday’s complaint was filed by a nonprofit representing indigenous people from the region where the project is proposed and a conservation advocacy group. They contend Trump lacked authority to issue the new permit because the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to administer federal lands and regulate foreign commerce.

“The project would pose grave risks to the environment, including the climate, cultural resources, water resources, fish and wildlife, and human health and safety,” according to the complaint.

The case is Indigenous Environmental Network v. Trump, 4:19-cv-00028, U.S. District Court, District of Montana, Great Falls Division.

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