Northern Plains Resource Council
Late this afternoon, the White House issued TransCanada a new Presidential Permit taking the unusual step of revoking its own prior 2017 permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. A Montana federal district court ruling in November of 2018 found that the prior permit did not meet legal standards and would require a new supplemental environmental impact statement. That ruling was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals where a future decision was expected later this year.
The legal basis for the new Presidential Permit is unclear.
The Northern Plains Resource Council, a Montana conservation and family agriculture group, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit which the Trump administration is seeking to sidestep. Dena Hoff, a farmer in the Glendive, Montana area and member-leader of Northern Plains, issued the following response to the White House release:
“Our first response upon seeing this White House communication was that it must be an April Fool’s joke. The lack of respect for the rule of law and our Constitutional separation of powers would be laughable were it not so dangerous to our democracy.
"This new effort appears blatantly illegal on its face and is an unprecedented effort by a United States President to supersede the judicial branch of the United States government.
"Such a drastic measure, which shows outright contempt for the checks and balances of our democratic system, is a last-ditch move of desperation for a project that cannot pass legal muster on its own merits.
"The Keystone XL pipeline is a dangerous project that would threaten the drinking water for tens of thousands of Montanans downstream from its Missouri River crossing. Furthermore, it endangers the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers who depend on clean water. It is a sad day when a United States President thumbs his nose at the law for a project that only benefits a foreign corporation while putting Americans at risk.”
Northern Plains is a grassroots conservation and family agriculture group that organizes Montanans to protect our water quality, family farms and ranches, and unique quality of life.