In Yet Another Blow to Keystone XL, Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Revive Key Water Crossing Permit

Court Rejects Push from Trump Admin to Allow Construction of Keystone XL Through Waterways Amid Appeal


Washington, DC - The United States Supreme Court declined a request from TC Energy and the Trump administration to allow Keystone XL to proceed under Nationwide Permit 12, a key water-crossing permit for pipelines that a district court found unlawful. The court also issued a partial stay of the district court’s decision as it applies to other pipelines while a full appeal of the decision moves forward. 

In April, the U.S. District Court in Montana ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers violated bedrock environmental law when it issued Nationwide Permit 12, vacating the permit and prohibiting the Corps from using this fast-tracked approval process for Keystone XL and other pipeline projects. The Army Corps had pushed to allow pipeline construction under the permit to continue during its appeal of the ruling in the Ninth Circuit. That court rejected the Army Corps’ request. The Supreme Court’s order partially reverses the Ninth Circuit’s decision, allowing other pipelines to continue using Nationwide Permit 12, but continuing to bar the construction of Keystone XL through rivers, streams, and wetlands while the appeal is heard. 

TC Energy also faces additional roadblocks to completing Keystone XL, including other legal challenges, oil market chaos, and a recent commitment by Joe Biden to rescind the pipeline’s permit should he be elected president. 

“Farmers, ranchers, tribal communities, and the clean water they depend on are a bit safer today thanks to the high court allowing the justice system to proceed in due course,“ said Dena Hoff, a Montana farmer and member of the Northern Plains Resource Council. “The Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to our air, land, water, and climate. We are glad the Supreme Court has rejected this effort to ram through this dangerous Canadian tar sands project.”


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