Joe Biden

21 Republican-led states sue Biden over Keystone XL rejection

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

The lawsuit, which also names Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Cabinet members, was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for Southern 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 the states aren’t near the proposed path for Keystone XL, which would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. So why do they believe they have standing? The Montana attorney general’s office says it’s because killing 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 by revoking the permit on his first day in office, Biden exceeded his authority because of a provision Congress tucked into tax legislation in 2011 that required President Barack Obama to either approve the pipeline within 60 days or issue a determination that it wasn’t in the national interest.

Obama rejected the application by TransCanada (now TC Energy Corp.) a few weeks later, saying Congress gave him insufficient time, but he allowed the company to reapply, which deferred the decision until after he was re-elected. 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.

Twelve states — including many of the same ones suing over Keystone XL — sued Biden last month over a climate executive order that issued a binding determination of the “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 by issuing the binding calculation of the social cost of carbon, which is factored into federal regulations, permitting decisions by the federal government and other decisions. Last month, acting on the 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, which downplayed climate change’s cost to society.

The attorneys general argue 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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