A federal judge dismissed Thursday a multi-state lawsuit challenging President Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, ruling that the company’s subsequent decision to kill the project renders the legal battle moot.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown said TC Energy’s June decision to terminate the $8 billion, 1,200-mile project means the court has no jurisdiction to consider the 23-state lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Texas.
“The court takes TC Energy at its word that Keystone XL is dead,” said Judge Brown in his 18-page opinion. “Because it is dead, any ruling this court makes on whether President Biden had the authority to revoke the permit would be advisory. Thus, the court has no jurisdiction and the case must be dismissed as moot.”
Mr. Biden revoked the proposed oil pipeline’s cross-border permit with Canada on his first day in office, declaring that the project was counter to the national interest because the “United States and the world face a climate crisis.”
Judge Brown, a Trump appointee, said that Calgary-based TC Energy filed an amicus brief confirming that it has “obtained state and federal approval to remove the 1.2-mile border-crossing segment of the pipeline.”
“It is true that once President Biden mandated the revocation of the permit, it did not take long for TC Energy to give up and abandon the project,” the ruling said.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen called it “unfortunate” that the question of whether the president can revoke a congressionally approved cross-border permit would go unaddressed “because TC Energy inserted itself into the court proceedings unprompted.”
“This also deprived Montanans and residents of other states who would have benefited from the pipeline’s jobs and tax revenue of their day in court,” he said. “However, it should have never come to this point. Democrats played political games with this project for years.”
The Keystone XL was expected to transport 838,000 barrels of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands through Montana and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would hook up with the existing Keystone pipeline en route to Gulf Coast refineries.
The Biden administration has been accused of contributing to rising energy prices with the Keystone XL cancellation and other policies restricting U.S. oil-and-gas production.
“Recent events have made it clear that we need more, not less, domestic energy supply,” Mr. Knudsen said. “The Keystone XL or a similar pipeline could have provided that. Instead, Montanans are once again paying the price for President Biden’s disastrous energy policies that pander to his coastal elite base without even a perceived environmental benefit.”
Jane Kleeb, a Keystone XL opponent and chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, accused Republicans of being “obsessed” with the project.
“Republicans just can not quit the failed KXL pipeline, they are obsessed,” she tweeted. “A Trump-appointed judge today told them to get over it. Republicans wasted tax-payer dollars pursuing a dead pipeline.”