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Montana sues Biden in bid to revive Keystone XL

by Associated Press
| March 17, 2021 4:00 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Attorneys general from 21 states on Wednesday sued to to overturn President Joe Biden's cancellation of the contentious Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

Led by Ken Paxton of Texas and Austin Knudsen of Montana, the states said Biden had overstepped his authority when he revoked the permit for the Keystone pipeline on his first day in office.

Because the line would run through multiple U.S. states, Congress should have the final say over whether it's built, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Texas.

“The power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress – not the President. This is another example of Joe Biden overstepping his constitutional role to the detriment of Montanans,” Knudsen said in a press release. “There is not even a perceived environmental benefit to his actions – his attempt to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline is an empty virtue signal to his wealthy coastal elite donors. It shows Biden’s contempt for rural communities in Montana and other states along the pipeline’s path that would benefit from and support the project.”

Construction on the 1,200-mile pipeline began last year when former President Donald Trump revived the long-delayed project after it had stalled under the Obama administration.

It would move up to 830,000 barrels (35 million gallons) of crude daily from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would connect to other pipelines that feed oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Biden cancelled its permit over longstanding concerns that burning oil sands crude would make climate change worse.

Some moderate Democratic lawmakers also have urged Biden to reverse his decision, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, issued a statement Wednesday supporting Knudsen's lawsuit.

“President Biden decided to ignore science, ignore our rural communities and instead side with environmental activists and shut down construction on the Keystone XL pipeline,” Daines stated.