Environmental justice organizations have filed a new federal lawsuit against the federal government in an attempt to stop the construction of the notorious Keystone XL pipeline.
“We won’t stop fighting Trump’s underhanded attempt to dodge the courts and ram this dirty fossil fuel project down America’s throat,” said Jared Margolis, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit. “We’ll continue working to ensure this destructive pipeline never has the chance to ruin clean water that’s crucial to people and endangered species.”
The groups claim that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the controversial pipeline was illegal and violates the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The lawsuit that permits were issued “without assessing its significant direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects and by using the Permit to approve most of Keystone XL’s water crossings without analyzing its project-specific impacts.”
“Incredibly, the EA [environmental assessment] does not evaluate the risks or impacts of oil spills into waterways at all,” the suit states.
The groups also intend to sue President Donald Trump, the Army Corps, and the companies seeking to build Keystone XL, including the power line companies that would construct the hundreds of miles of lines for the pipeline’s pump stations. In a notice to these companies, environmental groups write:
“The conservation groups are prepared to demonstrate that construction, operation, and maintenance of the project, including its substantial transmission line infrastructure, will proximately cause the unauthorized take of listed species, including the whooping crane, American burying beetle, pallid sturgeon, interior least tern, and piping plover.”
“The Trump administration has proven to be just as reckless with our Constitutional separation of powers as this dangerous Keystone XL pipeline is to the safety of our water and climate,” said Dena Hoff, a Northern Plains Resource Council member. “The United States is still a country of laws, and this foreign corporation’s proposed tar sands pipeline has yet to prove it meets legal standards in the American court system. We will continue this fight for the safety of Montanans and the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers who depend on clean water.”
Last year the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruled that the Trump administrated “violated bedrock environmental laws by issuing a permit for Keystone XL without adequately evaluating critical information on the project’s environmental impacts, including tar sands oil spills and climate change.” Trump rescinded that permit and proceeded to issue a new one in March of this year.
This newest lawsuit argues that the Army Corps’ approval under the new “Nationwide Permit 12” process allowed for them to make decisions behind closed doors without evaluating the risk of spills into waterways.