RSN Fundraising Banner
Trump Abruptly Issues New Keystone XL Permit in Boon to Lobbyists
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=45467"><span class="small">E. A. Crunden, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Saturday, 30 March 2019 08:21

Crunden writes: "President Donald Trump handed a victory to a major North American energy company on Friday afternoon with a new presidential permit allowing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to go forward. Many say the move is an effort to sidestep judiciary and environmental review and is likely to face legal challenges."

The presidential permit revokes and replaces a previous presidential permit granted by Trump in March 2017. (photo: Bloomberg)
The presidential permit revokes and replaces a previous presidential permit granted by Trump in March 2017. (photo: Bloomberg)


Trump Abruptly Issues New Keystone XL Permit in Boon to Lobbyists

By E.A. Crunden, ThinkProgress

30 March 19


The controversial pipeline has faced nonstop legal challenges.

resident Donald Trump handed a victory to a major North American energy company on Friday afternoon with a new presidential permit allowing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to go forward. Many say the move is an effort to sidestep judiciary and environmental review and is likely to face legal challenges.

Pipeline company TransCanada Corp. is authorized to “construct, connect, operate and maintain” pipeline facilities running between the United States and Canada, per the permit issued on March 29. It additionally allows the maintenance of a pipeline facility in Phillips County, Montana.

The presidential permit revokes and replaces a previous presidential permit granted by Trump in March 2017. In November 2018, a Montana judge invalidated that permit and it is currently being appealed, while a December lawsuit and subsequent injunction largely halted pre-construction activities on the pipeline. The Trump administration was, as a result of the November legal action, ordered to conduct a new environmental review of the pipeline — something the new presidential permit apparently seeks to sidestep.

“This permit supersedes the Presidential permit issued to the permittee, dated March 23, 2017,” the new permit notes. Some think that logic stems from the Justice Department’s previous argument that the permit isn’t subject to environmental review by the State Department if it is signed by the president himself.

The new permit notably removes a section from its older version that referenced a 2014 environmental impact statement assessing Keystone XL’s environmental consequences. That document includes references to climate change and environmental justice, along with threatened and endangered species. The word “environment” appears only once in the new presidential permit issued Friday, referencing environmental contamination. The word “climate” does not appear at all.

“What’s especially appalling about Trump’s move is that many parts of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska are literally underwater right now with devastating floods impacting the Midwest, and instead of offering support to the communities who will face more of these kinds of disasters as the climate crisis worsens, Trump is offering a Canadian fossil fuel company another chance to build a gigantic fossil fuel project that would only unlock more climate pollution while putting already suffering communities further at risk,” said Greenpeace USA campaigner Rachel Butler to ThinkProgress in an email.

Keystone XL has been a raging source of controversy for years, due largely to the public health and environmental implications posed by the pipeline. President Barack Obama handed pipeline opponents a victory when he backed away from the project in 2015 amid heated pushback. But Trump has prioritized the project — it was among the first actions Trump made after taking office and he has worked repeatedly to ensure that the pipeline comes to fruition, despite legal setbacks.

Meanwhile, lobbyists have also been hard at work pushing for the pipeline’s construction. TransCanada spent around $200,000 each quarter of 2018 lobbying on issues including Keystone XL, according to disclosures. Documents also show the all-Republican D.C.-based lobbying firm CGCN Group spent $90,000 each quarter representing TransCanada last year and specifically targeting environmental reviews.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also lobbied on the Keystone XL environmental assessment specifically. On Friday, the organization celebrated the presidential permit almost immediately. “Keystone XL is in our economic and energy security interests, and review after review have found that it can be built and operated in an environmentally responsible way,” the statement read.

The permit announcement appears to have caught stakeholders and environmental advocates largely off-guard. The State Department, which is conducting the new environmental review of the pipeline, appeared surprised by the news. Environmental groups similarly expressed shock to ThinkProgress, but underscored that the move is likely to face immediate legal challenges.

“The courts have repeatedly rejected Trump’s attempts to get this pipeline built, so now he’s shamefully attempting to bypass our bedrock environmental laws for the benefit of a foreign pipeline company,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michal Brune told ThinkProgress. “We will continue to pursue every available avenue to ensure that this pipeline is never built.”

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+1 # economagic 2019-03-30 13:29
What the bleep is a "presidential permit"? Executive orders are not mentioned in the Constitution at all, so what are the laws governing them? We have a president (sort of) who thinks he is the king, and the smartest and very toughest yet most generous king that ever lived. We know where the Republicans in Congress are. Where are the Democrats?

OK, that may be a LITTLE unfair,as they seem to be beginning to awaken from their 50-year slumber. (Rip Van Winkle was said to have slept only 20 years.) But they should all be waking up swinging like the newbies they are trying to shut down.

And BTW, why are transnational corporations allowed and encouraged to collaborate with each other to get laws giving them special dispensations, while many workers are denied the right to do the same?
 
 
+2 # nogardflow 2019-03-30 13:30
Can't understand why Trump, who was given so much, hates this country.
 
 
+3 # chapdrum 2019-03-30 15:06
Conspicuously absent is Congress's and the Judiciary's literal or imputed (not clear) "duty of care" to the American people.
Restated: In what way is the Trump "presidency" NOT hurting the U.S.A.?
 
 
+2 # tedrey 2019-03-30 15:11
Do I correctly understand (6th paragraph) that if the earlier permit had not been superceded, the proposed pipeline and its construction would now be underwater? I think permits should be shelved at least until *the climate* has stabilized!
 
 
0 # DongiC 2019-03-31 03:41
Commenters on this thread are starting to realize that Trump hates America and, probably, the world as well. He is determined to torpedo any laws or regulations which favor the environment. He is targeting our eco system and seems to relish smashing our children and grandchildren's chances at a happy life. He has, in effect, declared war upon the environment. If this is not grounds for impeachment and conviction, what is? I submit Donald Trump has violated his oath to preserve and protect the United States. Let the removal process begin, while there is still time.