An activist group with a history of engaging in civil disobedience filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming the government is illegally hiding information about the Keystone XL pipeline route.
Conservationist group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is suing the State Department to obtain documents about the route the group claims the government is obligated to disclose.
“We can’t fully understand Keystone XL’s threats to our water and wildlife until the Trump administration releases public documents about this dangerous pipeline’s route,” Amy Atwood, the Center’s endangered species legal director, said in a press statement Thursday.
The State Department’s decision to “illegally” withhold documents about the route, Atwood’s group claims, give the CBD no other choice but to sue the Trump administration.
CBD filed the lawsuit in cordination with the Keystone Mapping Project, a multimedia and photography project that examines land use of the Keystone, the a nearly 2,000-mile pipeline that extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Keystone Mapping Project want specific data pertaining to the route’s specific route.
The lawsuit also demands communications and contracts the government signed with private companies that prepared the environmental reviews for the contentious project.
CBD’s demands come after similar demands were made of Energy Transfer Partners, the energy company behind the equally contentious Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Environmentalists groups and American Indian tribes sought information from the Army Corps of Engineers about the DAPL’s route.
U.S. District Court decided in March that the company behind the project could hide information about leak points at areas along its route. The court argued the exception was necessary to prevent possible acts of vandalism in the future.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux and other DAPL opponents believe information disclosing the route’s leak points could bolster their arguments that the line needs further environmental studies. The project will shuttle 500,000 barrels of Bakken oil from the Dakotas to parts of Illinois.
Many of the activists who fought against the DAPL have made their way East to take up similar actions against Keystone, in the event the pipeline gets final approval in Nebraska.
Law enforcement officials investigated two separate incidents earlier this year of vandalism against DAPL in Iowa and South Dakota involving holes torched in sections of the multi-billion-dollar line, which officially started shuttling oil earlier this month.
A small hole was burned into the pipe at an unguarded valve site in South Dakota, law enforcement officials told reporters at the time. Nobody was arrested or punished for the sabotage effort.
CBD has a history of engaging in civil disobedience as a tool for targeting energy projects the group believes could harm water ways and other natural resources.
The group’s president, Kieran Suckling, for instance was found guilty of criminal trespassing in 2004 of occupying private property and refusing to leave as part of a political protest. He would later brag about being arrested in a press release as recently as 2014.
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