(Adds information from another lawsuit filed separate in
paragraphs 2, 5)
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON, March 30 Several environmental
groups filed lawsuits against the Trump administration on
Thursday to challenge its decision to approve construction of
TransCanada Corp's controversial Keystone XL crude oil
In two separate filings to a federal court in Montana,
environmental groups argued that the U.S. State Department,
which granted the permit needed for the pipeline to cross the
Canadian border, relied on an "outdated and incomplete
environmental impact statement" when making its decision earlier
By approving the pipeline without public input and an
up-to-date environmental assessment, the administration violated
the National Environmental Policy Act, groups including the
Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and the Northern
Plains Resource Council said in their legal filing.
"They have relied on an arbitrary, stale, and incomplete
environmental review completed over three years ago, for a
process that ended with the State Department’s denial of a
cross-border permit," the court filing says.
In the other filing, the Indigenous Environmental Network
and North Coast Rivers Alliance sought injunctive relief,
restraining Transcanada from taking any action that would harm
the "physical environment in connection with the project pending
a full hearing on the merits."
U.S. President Donald Trump announced the presidential
permit for the Keystone XL at the White House last week.
TransCanada's Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling and Sean
McGarvey, president of North America's Building Trades Unions,
Trump, a Republican, said the project would lower consumer
fuel prices, create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign
His Democratic predecessor, former president Barack Obama,
rejected the pipeline, saying it would lead to an increase in
greenhouse gas emissions and do nothing to reduce fuel prices
for U.S. motorists.
"This tar sands pipeline poses a direct threat to our
climate, our clean water, wildlife, and thousands of landowners
and communities along the route of this dirty and dangerous
project, and it must and will be stopped," said Michael Brune,
executive director of the Sierra Club, one of the groups that
filed the lawsuit.
The lawsuits came on the heels of a lawsuit filed on
Wednesday challenging other recent moves to undo Obama's climate
Conservation groups and the Northern Cheyenne Native
American tribe of Montana sued the administration on Wednesday
for violating the National Environmental Policy Act when it
lifted a moratorium on coal leases on federal land.
All lawsuits have been filed in U.S. District Court in
Montana’s Great Falls Division.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and