A coalition of states with Republican attorneys general sued President Biden on Wednesday over his decision to revoke a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The lawsuit from 21 states, led by Texas and Montana, argues that revoking the cross-border permit is a “regulation of interstate and international commerce” that should be left to Congress and that Biden’s move was an overreach.
The Republican attorneys general also argued that the decision was arbitrary and capricious.
Some of the states represented in the lawsuit have Democratic governors, including Kentucky and Kansas, though all of them have Republican attorneys general.
“Cabinet Defendants’ actions … have the possibility of depriving States and local governments of millions of dollars in revenues. Yet, far from providing a reasoned explanation for why they are taking their actions, they have not provided any reason at all,” the suit states.
Republicans have long complained about Biden’s move on his first day in office to revoke the permit for the U.S.-Canada pipeline, while environmentalists cheered him on.
In a statement on the lawsuit, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R) called Biden’s cancellation of the permit “an empty virtue signal to his wealthy coastal elite donors.”
“The power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress – not the President. This is another example of Joe Biden overstepping his constitutional role to the detriment of Montanans,” he added.
In his executive order revoking the permit, Biden argued that the pipeline “disserves” the U.S. national interest and that “leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives.”
The proposed 1,200-mile pipeline would have carried oil from Canada to the U.S.
Its opponents argue that the country shouldn’t be importing oil that’s produced from carbon-intensive tar sands. Tribes have also expressed opposition, saying the Trump administration ignored their treaty rights when approving the pipeline.
Supporters, however, say the project would have brought jobs and revenue.
TC Energy, the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, said after Biden’s executive order that it would lay off 1,000 workers but didn’t specify whether those workers were American.
A White House spokesperson referred The Hill to the Department of Justice (DOJ). A DOJ spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
Former President Trump championed the pipeline, issuing a permit allowing it to cross the border during the first months of his presidency.
Via The Hill