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Press Release: Northern Plains files opening brief in expanded legal challenge to Keystone XL pipeline

Illegal pipeline approval violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2019

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — In concert with other conservation and landowners’ groups, the Northern Plains Resource Council filed their opening brief today in their federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s illegal approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The groups are suing the Army Corps of Engineers over its failure to adequately analyze the project’s effects on local waterways, lands, and communities along its 1,200-mile route.

The filing comes in the wake of yet another massive pipeline spill from the Keystone pipeline system TC Energy is hoping to expand with Keystone XL. Reports this week reveal that this latest spill, which leaked more than 380,000 gallons of tar sands into a North Dakota wetland, affected almost 10 times as much land as originally reported.

Late last year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruled that the Trump administration violated bedrock environmental laws by issuing a permit for Keystone XL without adequately evaluating critical information on the pipeline’s environmental impacts, including tar sands oil spills and climate change. Today’s brief makes the case that the Army Corps’ streamlined permitting process for oil pipelines – called “Nationwide Permit 12” – and its use of that process for the Keystone XL pipeline suffers from similar flaws, allowing Keystone XL to be constructed through hundreds of rivers, streams, and wetlands without proper evaluation of the project’s impacts, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is a clear threat to healthy land and clean water for farming, ranching, rural, and tribal communities in Montana and beyond, as witnessed by the recent spill suffered by our neighbors in North Dakota,” said Dena Hoff, Northern Plains member and Glendive, Montana farmer. “Given how irresponsible Canadian pipeline owner TC Energy has been with existing legs of Keystone, all Americans should be concerned by these illegal efforts to ram through permits for an even larger pipeline without proper risk analysis.”