Taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $15 billion after Biden canceled Keystone XL pipeline permit
Reported by CHRIS ENLOE | July 06, 2021
Taxpayers may be on the hook to compensate the Canadian energy company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project. Just as he promised, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office. The move appeased climate change hawks, but resulted in thousands of hardworking construction workers losing their jobs. TC Energy, the Canadian-based company responsible for the pipeline, is seeking to recover more than $15 billion in damages caused by Biden’s permit cancellation.
In a news release last week, the company said it had “filed a Notice of Intent to initiate a legacy North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claim under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to recover economic damages resulting from the revocation of the Keystone XL Project’s Presidential Permit.”
The notice was filed with the State Department.
The announcement comes after TC Energy officially canceled the Keystone XL pipeline project last month. The company said it would “coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the project.” That means, according to Yahoo Finance, undoing pipeline construction that was already completed. Only about 10% of construction was finished.
The 1,179-mile pipeline with an $8 billion price tag would have transported 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the tar sands of Canada through the United States. The Biden administration has not yet responded to TC Energy’s claim.
The Biden administration was also sued by 21 states for canceling the Keystone XL construction permit. Those states alleged Biden exceeded his presidential authoring in revoking the permit.
Revocation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit is a regulation of interstate and international commerce, which can only be accomplished as any other statute can: through the process of bicameralism and presentment. The President lacks the power to enact his ‘ambitious plan’ to reshape the economy in defiance of Congress’s unwillingness to do so. To the extent that Congress had delegated such authority, it would violate the non-delegation doctrine. But Congress has not delegated such authority: It set specific rules regarding what actions the President can take about Keystone XL and when. The President, together with various senior executive officials, violated those rules. The action should be set aside as inconsistent with the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 500, et seq.
Among the states that joined the lawsuit included Texas, Montana, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Alaska and Florida have since joined the lawsuit.