President Joe Biden’s controversial January decision to halt construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline almost immediately prompted legal action from a number of states, and now two additional attorneys general have joined the litigation and are fighting the project’s cancellation, as the Washington Examiner reports.
The dispute was initially triggered when, as one of his very first acts upon taking office, Biden revoked the permit that allowed construction of the 1,700-mile pipeline designed to transport approximately 800,000 barrels of oil daily from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Then, back in March, Texas and a series of other states filed suit against the Biden administration over the move, claiming that the president lacks the unilateral authority to make changes to national energy policy set by the federal legislature, as Reuters noted at the time.
This week, it was announced that the states of Alaska and Florida would also join the lawsuit that is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, bringing the tally of states involved to 23.
In announcing the addition of the latest two states, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen declared, “The Constitution is clear that presidents do not have the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce or to unilaterally undo an act of Congress,” the Examiner reported.
Knudsen continued, “The fallout from the Colonial pipeline cyberattack made it very clear that we need more energy infrastructure, not less. The Keystone XL would get more oil, including Montana oil, to American refineries to be sold to American consumers.
Reiterating his commitment – along with that of the other state attorneys general – to overturning Biden’s action, Knudsen asserted, “We will continue to fight this federal overreach, along with the 22 other states, so that Montanans can benefit from the jobs, tax revenue, and enhanced energy independence the Keystone XL will bring to our communities.”
TC Energy, the company that operates the pipline, has estimated that its previously planned expansion was likely to have created over 42,000 jobs and sent $8 billion into economies in North America, as the Federalist noted, and its cancellation almost instantly eliminated more than 25,000 positions, according to estimates.
Whether the Biden administration’s efforts to undermine the nation’s oil and gas industry and reverse the massive strides toward lasting energy independence made during the Trump years will be defeated remains to be seen, but this case is certainly one to watch.