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Pierce writes: "They're the ones who walked away!"

Anti-pipeline protesters. (photo: Daniel Slim/Getty)
Anti-pipeline protesters. (photo: Daniel Slim/Getty)

The Company Behind the Keystone XL Pipeline Would Like $15 Billion of Your Money, Please

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

07 July 21

They're the ones who walked away!

his week’s edition of Amazing Stories Of Chutzpah comes to us courtesy of a press release from TC Energy, the Canadian gargantua that planned to construct the now-deceased Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death funnel and longtime Republican fetish object. TCE has a bad case of the mad on and it’s looking to get paid. Let’s let it speak for itself.

TC Energy will be seeking to recover more than US$15 billion in damages that it has suffered as a result of the U.S. Government’s breach of its NAFTA obligations. The Notice of Intent was filed with the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser.

Let us pause here to remind ourselves that NAFTA really did suck pond water in many ways, and that the previous administration*’s adjustment of its font size—or whatever—didn’t make it suck any less pond water.

Anyway, Nebraska Democratic chair Jane Fleming Kleeb, who made her bones as an organizer putting together the coalition that won its long battle against the pipeline when the administration cancelled TC’s permit, causing the company to announce that it was walking away from the project, answered back on the electric Twitter machine:

What a disgusting yet predictable move from @TCEnergy and Canadian government. America didn’t want your pipeline. You took the risk. Taxpayers are not going to pay $15 billion for your failed and risky investment. You lost. This is how capitalism works.

This is a company that treated the farmers and other citizens of Nebraska like doormats for years—surveying their property without permission, running amok in the state legislature, all in pursuit of a death-funnel that would transport the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel dangerously close to one of the largest underground freshwater sources in the world, one that already is under stress due to the climate crisis which, experts say, the fuel that TCE proposed to run through its pipeline would exacerbate almost beyond repair. It thought it had the state wired. It was wrong.

It’s important to remember that TCE walked away from this project. It gave up, showed the white feather, ran up the white flag, and now it wants $15 billion from American taxpayers for having done so. And the truly hilarious part is that TCE may lose its action because it relied on the previous president*’s having known what he was doing.

This time may be different if TC Energy chooses to proceed with a claim. NAFTA has been replaced by a new agreement — the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Unlike NAFTA, USMCA does not permit Canadian investors to sue the U.S. government (or American investors to sue the Canadian government).

Legacy claims for investments that had occurred prior to the USMCA coming into force are permitted until 2023. But TC Energy’s claim may now be weaker because the permit issued by the Trump administration explicitly stated that it could be rescinded, essentially at the president’s whim.

That NAFTA even allows this nonsense to get a hearing is one of the elements of that agreement that fairly reeks of pond water. your social media marketing partner
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