Press release: Environmental groups respond to Trump’s attempt to throw out Keystone XL lawsuit – July 10, 2017

July 11, 2017

Categories: Climate change, Courts, Northern Plains Resource Council, Oil and gas, Pipeline

Recording of Dena Hoff quote

Trump Administration is not above basic environmental laws

Dena Hoff

GREAT FALLS, Montana — Today, environmental groups responded to an attempt by the Trump administration and Canadian oil giant TransCanada to dismiss a lawsuit against the administration over its approval of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The lawsuit was filed in March by Northern Plains Resource Council, the Sierra Club, Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It challenged the State Department’s inadequate and outdated environmental review of the pipeline, which relied solely on an environmental impact statement from January 2014.

“When it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trump administration must obey the law like all the rest of American citizens. Federal officials are trying to circumvent the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires review of projects that would have ‘significant’ environmental impacts,” said Dena Hoff, a Glendive-area farmer and spokesperson for Northern Plains Resource Council, a conservation and family agriculture group in Billings, Montana. “The Administration and TransCanada are using old data which does not take into account the crash in oil prices, the effects of tar sands mining on the climate, water quality, public health, forests, and wildlife. Trump, the State Department, and Bureau of Land Management cannot ignore NEPA. This lawsuit would hold them accountable through judicial review.

“As Montanans, we have an acute understanding of the importance of water. We depend on our rivers and groundwater for drinking, for irrigation, and for our biggest economies – agriculture and recreation tourism. A threat to our water is a threat to our most basic needs. NEPA would review the effects Keystone XL will have on our water and land from oil spills and leaks.”

In its motion to dismiss, the Trump administration claimed that the approval of the pipeline cannot be reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of our bedrock environmental laws which requires that government actions be reviewed based on their environmental impacts. TransCanada filed a similar motion days later.

“It is disturbing that the Trump Administration believes it is above the law and is not required to comply with basic environmental laws that exist to protect the American people” said Sierra Club Staff Attorney Doug Hayes. “Keystone XL would be a disaster for the climate and for communities, wildlife, and water resources along its route. The court should not allow Donald Trump to flout the law and ignore these consequences for the benefit of a foreign oil company.”


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