‘It Is Dead’: Federal Judge Sides With Biden Administration on Keystone Pipeline

Conservative Brief | Jonathan Davis | January 7, 2022



A federal judge has handed the Biden administration a major victory that will make left-wing environmentalists smile but will harm ordinary Americans with higher energy costs.

The Biden administration requested to have a lawsuit filed by more than 20 Republican attorneys general after the president canceled the Keystone XL pipeline as one of his first official acts in office.

“In his ruling, Judge Jeffrey Brown of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that because TC Energy, the pipeline company, abandoned the project, he could not determine whether Biden’s action was constitutional,” Republic Brief reported.

“TC Energy announced on June 9 that it would permanently stop construction on the pipeline and focus on other projects.”

That decision is likely what cost the GOP attorneys general a court victory.

One of a stack of executive orders signed by Biden on Jan. 20 included canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit that was approved after more than a decade of delays and legal battles under then-President Donald Trump.

“The court takes TC Energy at its word that Keystone XL is dead,” wrote Brown, who is a Trump nominee, in his ruling on Thursday. “And because it is dead, any ruling this court makes on whether President Biden had the authority to revoke the permit would be advisory. Thus, the court has no jurisdiction and the case must be dismissed as moot.”

Brown did not move to directly address whether Biden’s order was unconstitutional. Typically, when federal judges make such decisions, it is because presidents fail to follow the Administrative Procedure Act when reversing existing executive orders.

According to the Washington Times, the judge also noted that Calgary-based TC Energy filed an amicus brief confirming that it has “obtained state and federal approval to remove the 1.2-mile border-crossing segment of the pipeline.”

“It is true that once President Biden mandated the revocation of the permit, it did not take long for TC Energy to give up and abandon the project,” the ruling added.

Republic Brief added:

The Biden administration was sued on March 17 by 23 states led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who claim Congress has the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce. In the lawsuit, the AGs argued that Biden “must work with and abide by the limits set by Congress—whether he likes them or not.”

“Recent events have made it clear that we need more, not less, domestic energy supply,” Knudsen wrote in a statement on Thursday. “The Keystone XL or a similar pipeline could have provided that. Instead, Montanans are once again paying the price for President Biden’s disastrous energy policies that pander to his coastal elite base without even a perceived environmental benefit.”

“It’s unfortunate that the important constitutional question in this case – if the president can revoke a congressionally approved cross-border permit – will go unanswered because TC Energy inserted itself into the court proceedings unprompted,” Knudson added. “This also deprived Montanans and residents of other states who would have benefited from the pipeline’s jobs and tax revenue of their day in court.”

The Montana AG then accused Democrats of playing “political games” with Keystone for years before assailing Democratic Sen. Jon Tester for opposing it.

The Times added:

The Keystone XL was expected to transport 838,000 barrels of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands through Montana and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would hook up with the existing Keystone pipeline en route to Gulf Coast refineries.

The Biden administration has been accused of contributing to rising energy prices with the Keystone XL cancellation and other policies restricting U.S. oil-and-gas production.

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