21 Republican-led states sue Biden over Keystone XL rejection

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Texas, Montana and 19 other Republican-led states are suing President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Cabinet members in federal court over his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Along with Texas and Montana, the other plaintiffs are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Many of those states are not geographically near the proposed path for Keystone XL, which would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. So why do those states believe they have standing? The Montana Attorney General’s office says it’s because nixing the pipeline would “also have a ripple effect that adversely impacts the economy and environment in non-pipeline states.”

The GOP-led states argue that Biden exceeded his authority by revoking the permit for Keystone XL on his first day in office, 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.

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 pipeline requires a presidential permit and a national interest determination because it crosses an international border (with Canada).

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

This comes after 12 states – including many of the same ones suing over Keystone XL – sued Biden last month over his climate executive order that issued a binding “social cost of carbon.”

Those 12 – Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah – allege that Biden exceeded his authority in that executive order by issuing a binding “social cost of carbon” that gets factored in to federal regulations, permitting decisions by the federal government, and other decisions. Last month, acting on that executive order, the Biden administration temporarily and dramatically increased its calculation of the “social cost of carbon” to $51 per ton, reversing the Trump administration’s approach that downplayed climate change’s cost to society.

The attorneys general are arguing that the Biden administration’s calculation of the social costs of greenhouse cases is “arbitrary and capricious” and say it will have detrimental effects on the economy, especially in rural states.

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