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Published: Sat, April 01, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Groups Renew Fight Against Keystone Pipeline

Groups Renew Fight Against Keystone Pipeline

The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Great Falls and challenges president Trump's approval for the pipeline.

President Trump said that the pipeline will create more jobs, lower consumer fuel prices and USA dependence on foreign oil, amid much pushback.

TRP first applied for a permit from the U.S. State Department in 2008.

Plaintiffs also include Northern Plains Resource Council, Bold Alliance, Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club.

National environmental groups and the company seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline fired separate legal volleys Thursday over the contentious project.

FILE - In this November 3, 2015 photo, the Keystone Steele City pumping station, into which the planned Keystone XL pipeline is to connect in Steele City, Nebraska.

The environmental groups say the initial environmental review completed in 2014 is inadequate and outdated.

Environmentalists have long fought against the $8 billion Keystone project, created to carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day between the Alberta oil fields and American refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. At that point it will connect to an existing pipeline network that will transport oil to the Gulf of Mexico region.

"This dirty pipeline is a loaded gun pointed at our climate and some of America's most vital water supplies, and we won't let Trump pull the trigger", said Kierán Suckling, the Center's executive director.

The environmental group's lawsuit is the second one filed over the Keystone XL's approval, with the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance filing one that echoes the same argument. Even after Obama's State Department determined the pipeline project would not contribute to climate change, Obama put politics ahead of the American people and refused to approve the pipeline.

For example, last month President Trump ordered the final permit to enable completion of another high-profile project, the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), be granted.

In 2015, then-Secretary of State John Kerry issued an order determining that a presidential permit for the pipeline's border facilities would not serve the national interest, and denied the permit application.

“This is all going to make oil and gas development in Alberta more compelling to investors, ” she said.

In responding to activists' calls to target Keystone, TransCanada spokesman Matthew John said the project has already gone through "the most rigorous environmental review process of any cross border pipeline in history". Energy independence, support for US energy companies, development of new infrastructure, support for manufacturing, and focus on the American family are all going to be key characteristics of the energy policy President Trump seeks to push forward.

TransCanada needs the Public Service Commission, an independent five-member elected board, to approve its 275-mile route through Nebraska before it can move forward with eminent domain to force easements from landowners who refuse to give them voluntarily and begin construction.

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