Environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit Monday suggesting the Trump administration’s approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline violates several environmental laws and potentially worsens climate change.
Members of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA) argued the Department of State’s approval does not disclose Keystone’s environmental impacts and fails to give the public adequate time to comment on the project. They also allege the multi-billion project, which would shuttle nearly 800,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, violates the Endangered Species Acts.
“President Trump is breaking established environmental laws and treaties in his efforts to force through the Keystone XL Pipeline … but we are filing suit to fight back,” Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said in a press statement Wednesday.
Goldtooth also said that Keystone is another example of the government replacing “our responsibilities as guardians of Mother Earth” with a years-long “addiction to fossil fuels.”
Some of the American Indian activists who fought against the equally contested Dakota Access Pipeline are transferring their anti-pipeline furor to Keystone.
Environmentalists have promised to “raise hell” and recruit millions of people to fight the previously rejected pipeline. They have signaled an intent to bring the fight directly to lawmakers at town hall meetings along the route of Keystone, a project approved by President Donald Trump in January.
“We’re going to continue to make Keystone XL a political issue and push every elected official to come out against this project if they care about communities, local rights, eminent domain, air, water and climate,” Sara Shor, the campaign director for anti-fossil fuel group 350.org, told reporters earlier in March.
TransCanada, the Canadian company behind the project, encountered fierce opposition from landowners during its initial proposed route and successive legal challenges over the legality of maneuvering around plots of land eventually brought the project to a standstill.
Former President Barack Obama rejected the project outright in 2015, arguing it was not consistent with the country’s fight against so-called man-made warming. Trump’s predecessor had previously voiced support for the line before caving to pressure from activists.
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