Schmidt joins lawsuit over Keystone XL pipeline

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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt late Wednesday joined with 20 other states to challenge President Joe Biden’s authority to cancel a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline.

A candidate for governor in 2022, Schmidt signed onto the lawsuit – led by Texas and Montana – charging that Congress, not Biden, has the authority to change the policy.

“This pipeline was years in the making,” Schmidt said in a statement late Wednesday.

“If the government can unilaterally and without due process renege on its approval of this project, then no large capital investment requiring government approval is safe from having the regulatory rug pulled out from under it.”‘

Keystone XL is an expansion of an existing pipeline that transports Canadian crude into the United States.

It is part of a larger system of pipelines designed by TC Energy Corp. to transport 830,000 barrels of oil from where it is produced in Canada and Montana to refineries in Houston.

Keystone XL is the portion of the pipeline that covers about 1,200 miles crossing the U.S.-Canadian border into Philips County, Montana.

Environmental groups opposed the pipeline after it was first proposed for fear of spills and a desire to limit the amount of oil siphoned in Canada, which was seen as contributing to greenhouse gases and global warming.

Farmers, ranchers and Native American groups along the proposed route also came out against the pipeline because it would have crossed environmentally sensitive areas.

Shortly after taking office in January, Biden announced he was canceling a permit for the project, saying it didn’t serve the country’s national interest.

“No president has legal authority to disregard the plain language of the act of Congress that approved this project,” Schmidt said.

“To do so without even the appearance of fairness through notice to affected parties and an opportunity to be heard is the very definition of ‘arbitrary and capricious’ government action that the law forbids.”

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said there was no environmental benefit to canceling the permit.

“His attempt to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline is an empty virtue signal to his wealthy coastal elite donors,” Knudsen said in a statement.

“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.”