Keystone XL pipeline still possible

A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp’s planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

(Reuters) – The Canadian province of Alberta on Thursday urged a Galveston, Texas, federal judge to rule that the Biden administration illegally revoked a key permit for the now-canceled Keystone XL pipeline, saying that a ruling on the case’s merits could still allow the project to proceed.

The province, an investor in the $9 billion Alberta-to-Nebraska line terminated in June by its owner TC Energy Corp, threw its weight behind Texas, Montana and several other states that sued the Biden administration before the line’s suspension, even as the administration is now seeking to end the case on grounds it has become moot. Alberta’s filing says that a ruling favoring the states “would likely impact future decisions to undertake or fund the (pipeline’s) construction and operation.”

A spokesperson for Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy Corp said the company does not comment on matters before the courts.

Sonya Savage, Alberta’s energy minister, said: “The Canadian and U.S. energy systems are highly integrated, and continued cooperation – as Alberta is demonstrating by filing this amicus brief – is needed to ensure North American energy security.”

Kyler Nerison, a spokesperson for Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen, said: “As the brief makes clear, President Biden’s executive order is an attempt to regulate international commerce, a power expressly reserved to Congress.”

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Thursday’s filing, the province, from which Keystone XL (KXLP) was expected to carry 830,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude to U.S. refiners, says that, “if authorized to proceed, the KXLP would be a pivotal part of Alberta’s post-pandemic recovery efforts” by creating thousands of jobs for Alberta’s citizens.

The province had agreed to contribute up to 1.5 billion Canadian dollars toward the project. It says in the filing that the permit’s revocation has caused it damages of 1 billion Canadian dollars.

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Alberta is represented by attorneys at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

The DOJ asked U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown in July to dismiss the lawsuit as now moot. Its move for dismissal came about a month after TC Energy canceled the line following President Joe Biden’s revocation of a presidential permit needed for a U.S. stretch of the 1,200-mile project with an executive order.

Texas and the other plaintiffs for their part have argued in a court filing that the case is not moot because its outcome could “lead to the resurrection of the KXLP by TC Energy or another entity.”

Alberta’s Thursday filing says the province does not take a position on the case’s mootness.

The states in a March complaint claim that Biden does not have the unilateral authority to change energy policy that the U.S. Congress has set. They allege the president has violated a constitutional doctrine guaranteeing the separation of executive and legislative powers.

TC Energy last month said it is seeking more than $15 billion in damages from the U.S. government over the cancellation of its Keystone XL. It is pursuing its grievances under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The project had been repeatedly delayed since it was proposed in 2008 due to opposition from U.S. landowners, Native American tribes and environmentalists.

The case is State of Texas et al v. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, No. 3:21-cv-00065.

For State of Texas: Ryan Walters with the Office of the Texas Attorney General and David Dewhirst with the Montana Department of Justice.

For Joseph R. Biden, Jr., et al: Jean Lin with the U.S. Department of Justice.

For Province of Alberta, Canada: Tricia Macaluso of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

Source: Reuters

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