TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration decision to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline permit.
According to Schmidt, no president has the authority to “disregard the plain language of the act of Congress that approved this project, and to do so without even the appearance of fairness through notice to affected parties and an opportunity to be heard is the very definition of ‘arbitrary and capricious’ government action that the law forbids.”
Schmidt joins 21 states in filing the action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. In February, Schmidt joined 13 other attorneys general in sending a letter to the president to reverse the cancellation.
“This pipeline was years in the making,” Schmidt said in a news release. “If the government can unilaterally and without due process renege on its approval of this project, then no large capital investment requiring government approval is safe from having the regulatory rug pulled out from under it.”
The attorneys general say halting the pipeline threatens states and local communities who anticipated jobs and tax revenue related to the project and ongoing operations. They say the president’s “unilateral action” set a precedent that creates risk for other permits and projects that affect their states.
The pipeline was expected to move up to 35 million gallons of crude daily from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Nebraska, where it would connect to other pipelines that feed oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
President Biden canceled the permit over longstanding concerns that burning oil sands crude would make climate change worse.
Some moderate Democrats, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, has also urged the president to reverse his decision.