Northern Plains Resource Council et al. v. Shannon et al.

Together with the Northern Plains Resource Council, Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, and Sierra Club, NRDC challenged the U.S. State Department’s March 2017 decision to issue a U.S.–Canada cross-border permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline based on a stale and incomplete environmental review. The Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance filed a separate lawsuit against Keystone XL in the same court.

On November 22, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana denied the federal government’s and TransCanada’s motions to dismiss the case, soundly rejecting their argument that presidential authority barred judicial review of the State Department’s decision to approve the pipeline. The court subsequently ruled in our favor on several of our merits arguments, finding that the State Department violated several bedrock environmental laws when it issued the permit, requiring the State Department to revise its environmental analysis consistent with those laws, and halting any construction of the pipeline until the agency completed its analysis.

But in March 2019, President Donald Trump revoked the permit at the center of the legal challenge and issued a new presidential permit for Keystone XL—an effort to spur construction of the pipeline despite the many legal, political, and economic obstacles it faced. On June 6, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed our legal challenge over Keystone XL as moot—ruling that the case over the original permit was no longer active.

The fight against the Keystone XL pipeline is not over. Tar sands production is faltering, and scientific reports continue to confirm that our fight to reduce carbon emissions is more urgent than ever. And despite these moves by the administration, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), the pipeline’s developer, recently informed investors that it was too late to begin construction of the pipeline in 2019.

Last Updated

June 06, 2019



Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would send a flood of toxic tar sands oil—one of the dirtiest fuels in the world—through America’s heartland.

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Appeals Court Throws Out Case Blocking Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline, Relying on New Permit Issued by President Trump

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a legal challenge to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, ruling the case was no longer active due to President Trump’s revocation of the permit at the center of the case. In March, Trump issued a new “presidential” permit for Keystone XL, in an effort to spur construction of the pipeline.

June 06, 2019