The lawsuit is led by Montana and Texas, and backed by 19 other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas argues that revoking the cross-border permit is a “regulation of interstate and international commerce” that should be left to Congress.
The multi-state complaint also argues that the decision was arbitrary and capricious.
Some states 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.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen declared in a statement. “There is not even a perceived environmental benefit to his actions. His attempt to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline is an empty virtue signal to his wealthy coastal elite donors. It shows Biden’s contempt for rural communities in Montana and other states along the pipeline’s path that would benefit from and support the project.”
“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.
“Since his first day in office, President Biden has made it his mission to undo all the progress of the previous administration, with complete disregard for the Constitutional limits on his power. His decision to revoke the pipeline permit is not only unlawful but will also devastate the livelihoods of thousands of workers, their families, and their communities,” attorney general Ken Paxton of Texas said in a statement. “This administration continues to tout imaginary green-energy jobs, without any recognition that their actions in the real world will make it impossible for hard-working Americans to put food on the table.”
In Biden’s executive order which he did on his first day in office, the president argued that the pipeline “deserves” 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 reportedly pumped 35 million gallons of crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Supporters of the pipeline said it would have brought jobs and revenue. After Biden rescinded the permits, TC Energy Corporation, the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project, said it would be forced to cut more than 11,000 jobs.