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PRESS RELEASE: Northern Plains launches new legal challenge to Keystone XL Pipeline approval

Trump administration violated National Environmental Policy Act and Clean Water Act by approving controversial tar sands pipeline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2019

Great Falls, MT— Northern Plains Resource Council joined a coalition of conservation groups in filing a federal lawsuit today challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ illegal approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to be constructed through hundreds of rivers, streams, and wetlands without evaluating the project’s impacts as required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.

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 project’s environmental impacts, including tar sands oil spills and climate change. Although Trump effectively circumvented that ruling by issuing a new permit in March, the fact remains that no federal agency has yet completed the requisite analysis.

“The Trump administration has proven to be just as reckless with our Constitutional separation of powers as this dangerous Keystone XL pipeline is to the safety of our water and climate,” said Dena Hoff, a Northern Plains Resource Council member and Glendive farmer. “The United States is still a country of laws, and this foreign corporation’s proposed tar sands pipeline has yet to prove it meets legal standards in the American court system. We will continue this fight for the safety of Montanans and the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers who depend on clean water.”

The new lawsuit, filed in the same federal court in Montana, challenges the Army Corps’ approval of Keystone XL under its streamlined “Nationwide Permit 12” process, under which the Corps avoids the transparent and comprehensive review normally required for major projects. In fact, the Corps has approved the Keystone XL route completely behind closed doors, without evaluating the risk of oil spills into waterways. The lawsuit alleges that these approvals violate both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.

In addition to Northern Plains, the other conservation groups joining the lawsuit are Bold Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council,  and Sierra Club.