NRDC and Allies Sue Trump Administration To Block Keystone XL Pipeline

WASHINGTON  – The Natural Resources Defense Council and allies sued the Trump Administration today for illegally approving a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and called for the permit to be set aside, blocking the path to construction.

The lawsuit contends that the State Department violated federal law by relying on an outdated and incomplete environmental impact analysis and arbitrarily reversed its earlier decision to deny a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The following is a statement by Anthony Swift, director of NRDC’s Canada Project:

“The Trump Administration broke the law by arbitrarily approving the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. And it ignored public calls to update and correct a required environmental impact statement that should have led to one conclusion: Piping some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through America’s heartland would put at grave risk our land, water and climate. We’re asking the court to put an end to Keystone XL once and for all.”

NRDC joined Friends of the Earth, Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Northern Plains Resource Council, and the Sierra Club in the complaint that was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Montana. The complaint says that the Trump Administration acted in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

NRDC and its partners’ complaint alleges that the State Department violated federal law by refusing to update a 2014 environmental impact review that does not adequately analyze Keystone XL’s significant negative climate, air quality, pipeline safety and biological impacts.

It also alleges that the State Department has arbitrarily reversed its 2015 decision to deny a cross-border permit for Keystone XL. It asks the Court to declare that the State Department has broken the law and to set aside the cross-border permit.

Because the proposed route for Keystone XL crosses approximately 45 miles of public lands at, and just south of, the U.S. border, the Bureau of Land Management must grant rights of way before construction can proceed in the United States.

The lawsuit contends that BLM may issue those grants shortly, and rely on the State Department’s stale 2014 environmental review. This move would also violate federal law.

A copy of the complaint is here:


A blog on the issue is here:



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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 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, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


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