Margie Kelly, NRDC
Gabby Brown, Sierra Club
Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity
Patrick Davis, Friends of the Earth
Dustin Ogdin, Northern Plains Resource Council
Mark Hefflinger, Bold Alliance
San Francisco, CA – Environmental and landowner organizations today urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to maintain the prohibition on construction of the Keystone XL pipeline while federal agencies revise their flawed environmental review.
Last month, President Trump issued a new permit for the project after the Ninth Circuit refused to lift a lower court’s injunction barring construction of the pipeline. The new permit was a blatant attempt to circumvent the court’s ruling, which invalidated the administration’s flawed and outdated environmental review of the project and blocked construction. Earlier this month, the federal government and TransCanada, the company behind the proposed project, filed motions requesting that the case be dismissed as moot so that construction can begin.
Today’s brief opposes motions to dismiss, arguing that despite Trump’s new legal gambit, the court must maintain the existing injunction against construction until the government’s failure to meet environmental laws has been addressed. It raises concerns about Trump’s attempt to bypass the courts and environmental laws in his rush to get the pipeline built.
“Keystone XL is a doomed project, and President Trump is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Even if President Trump has the power to grant a cross-border permit, the pipeline cannot be built until the federal government complies with environmental laws. That’s the way the rule of law works in America, regardless of who sits in the White House,” said Jackie Prange, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“Keystone XL has been a bad deal for the American people from the beginning, and Donald Trump’s shameless attempt to bypass our bedrock environmental laws to get it built does nothing to change that,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes. “We’re urging the court to protect the American people by ensuring that construction on this dirty tar sands pipeline does not begin without a thorough accounting of the risks it would pose to our climate and communities.”
“Trump is trying to ram this dirty pipeline down America’s throat, but we’re not falling for it,” said Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “He can’t just approve this climate-wrecking, wildlife-killing project however he wants and avoid the environmental reviews required by law.”
“In America, we still believe in the rule of law. Farmers and ranchers for the past 10 years have pleaded with our government to protect property rights and clean water form a foreign pipeline. We are looking to the courts to hold the line on Trump’s reckless abuse of power,” said Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska founder.
“Trump’s actions are a blatant attempt to circumvent the actions the federal court took to stop construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Marcie Keever, Legal Director at Friends of the Earth. “When a foreign company can call up the U.S. President to cash in a favor to side-step our judicial system, we will demand the courts respond. This case has become about far more than this dirty, climate-destroying pipeline, it is now another chapter in Trump’s story of corruption and greed in the face of the law.”
“TransCanada has been unable to meet legal standards for the Keystone XL pipeline, so the White House is attempting to dismantle the constitutionally mandated checks and balances inherent to American democracy for the sake of a foreign corporation,” said Dena Hoff, a Montana farmer and member of the Northern Plains Resource Council. “The court should assert its independence as a co-equal branch of government by keeping the prohibition against pipeline construction in place until the risks to clean water for farmers, ranchers, and everyday people are addressed.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.