President Joe Biden’s decision to terminate the Keystone XL pipeline cost the jobs of tens of thousands of U.S. and Canadian oil workers, and potentially millions in the future, but the decision is not without its opponents. Two months following the president’s executive order, 21 states have filed a lawsuit to overturn the controversial decision.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the lawsuit alleges that Biden far exceeded his authority by cancelling the pipeline on his first day in office. The pipeline is considered crucial to America’s oil economy as well as Canada’s, and its cancellation has faced strong pushback from both Republicans and Democrats alike.
Attorneys representing the states argue that Biden exceeded his authority because “of a provision Congress tucked into tax legislation in 2011 that required then-President Barack Obama to either approve the pipeline within 60 days or issue a determination that it wasn’t in the national interest,” according to NBC News, which reports that “Obama then rejected TransCanada’s (now TC Energy Corp) application weeks later, saying Congress gave him insufficient time, but allowed the company to re-apply, which deferred the decision until after his re-election. Obama later rejected the application, President Donald Trump approved it, and Biden revoked the approval.”
The lawsuit states:
Revocation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit is a regulation of interstate and international commerce, which can only be accomplished as any other statute can: through the process of bicameralism and presentment. The President lacks the power to enact his “ambitious plan” to reshape the economy in defiance of Congress’s unwillingness to do so. To the extent that Congress had delegated such authority, it would violate the non-delegation doctrine. But Congress has not delegated such authority: It set specific rules regarding what actions the President can take about Keystone XL and when. The President, together with various senior executive officials, violated those rules. The action should be set aside as inconsistent with the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 500, et seq.
The states suing Biden include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
“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,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated.
“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,” he added.
“The power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress — not the President,” said Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen. “This is another example of Joe Biden overstepping his constitutional role to the detriment of Montanans. 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.”