For Immediate Release, March 30, 2017
Lawsuit Challenges Trump’s Approval of Keystone XL Pipeline
Controversial Pipeline Rejected by Obama Would Pollute Water, Worsen Climate Change, Endanger Rare Species
WASHINGTON— Environmental groups sued the Trump administration today for approving the controversial Keystone XL pipeline despite its threats to air, water, wildlife and public health. Friday’s pipeline approval also came without any public participation.
Those failures violate the National Environmental Policy Act and are the focus of today’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Montana’s Great Falls Division by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and other organizations.
“This dirty pipeline is a loaded gun pointed at our climate and some of America’s most vital water supplies, and we won’t let Trump pull the trigger,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center’s executive director. “This arrogant administration wants to ram this massive pipeline through with zero consideration of oil-spill risks or the immense harm Keystone will do to endangered wildlife. But Trump’s alternative facts and contempt for our environment won’t stand up in court.”
Keystone XL would carry up to 35 million gallons of oil every day from Canada’s tar sands — one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive energy sources in the world — to refineries in Texas. The 1,700-mile pipeline would cross rivers, streams and wetlands that are a source for drinking water for millions of people and provide habitat for at least 20 rare and endangered species, including whooping cranes, pallid sturgeons, interior least terns and piping plovers.
Since 1986 pipeline accidents have spilled an average of 76,000 barrels of oil and other substances per year, or more than 3 million gallons. Federal officials estimate that Keystone XL will spill up to 100 times during its lifetime.
In approving the pipeline, the State Department relied on a 2014 environmental analysis completed by the Obama administration, which, despite the analysis being incomplete and deficient, ultimately rejected the Keystone XL pipeline for not being in the national interest and for having significant environmental impacts.
Even though the 2014 analysis grossly underestimated the pipeline’s impacts on the rate of tar-sands development, it still found that the pipeline would pose significant threats to human health and the environment.
“For almost a decade, Americans have fought to stop the dirty Keystone XL pipeline from polluting our air and water,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. “We cannot stand by and allow oil and gas companies to ruin our climate and pollute our land, water, and sacred cultural sites. This litigation continues our resistance to Big Oil and Trump’s war against our health and planet.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Friends of the Earth fights to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.