PRESS RELEASE: Yet Again, Federal Court Invalidates Key Permit for Keystone XL
Court blocks construction through almost 700 waterways along the pipeline route
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2020
Great Falls, MT — A federal judge ruled today that the US Army Corps of Engineers violated the law when it approved Nationwide Permit 12, a key water crossing permit for TC Energy’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and many other pipelines nationwide. The ruling invalidates Nationwide Permit 12, prohibiting the Corps from using this fast-tracked approval process for any pipelines nationwide, including Keystone XL. The ruling could block construction through hundreds of water crossings along the Keystone XL pipeline route.
The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Northern Plains and other conservation groups last year which challenged the Corps’ failure to adequately analyze the effects of pipelines authorized under Nationwide Permit 12, including Keystone XL, on local waterways, lands, wildlife, and communities.
The Keystone XL pipeline is also facing ongoing legal challenges from Indigenous groups and Tribes, who have challenged President Trump’s attempt to unilaterally approve the cross-border segment of the pipeline. Construction on that cross-border segment began last week, and the court will conduct a hearing tomorrow on whether to block construction on that segment as well. Meanwhile, Montanans are also urging Governor Steve Bullock to put a hold on construction amid the COVID-19 public health crisis.
“This ruling proves, once again, that we are a nation of laws no matter how many times powerful forces seek to undermine bedrock American legal protections,” said Dena Hoff, a Northern Plains Resource Council member and Glendive, Montana farmer. “Given this new development, it’s imperative that all construction be halted to protect Montana’s rural and tribal communities during this pandemic. How, in good conscience, could we risk overwhelming our most vulnerable health care systems for a Canadian project that has never proven to be legally viable?”