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'We Will Never Back Down': Landowners and Green Groups File New Lawsuit Against Keystone XL

"The Keystone XL project was never in the public interest, and the administration continues to flout key environmental laws to promote this dirty and dangerous pipeline."

Around 2,500 climate justice activists marched to the front of the White House to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline on March 2, 2014. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/Flickr/cc)

A coalition of conservation and landowner groups filed a new lawsuit Tuesday against ongoing efforts by the federal government to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, calling the permit for the project's route across federal land full of errors and omissions and "made in reliance on flawed data and outdated spill-response plans."

"The Keystone XL project was never in the public interest, and the administration continues to flout key environmental laws to promote this dirty and dangerous pipeline," Center for Biological Diversity senior attorney Jared Margolis said in a statement. "The project would be devastating for the people and wildlife in its path, and regulators have repeatedly failed to fully address its environmental risks, including from oil spills."

The suit (pdf) challenges approval of the pipeline's path across 44 miles of federal land in Montana by the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service, charging that the agencies did not follow federal land management statutes.

"As the courts have found time and again, the Trump administration has consistently cut corners and skirted the law in order to ram through approval of Keystone XL," said Sierra Club senior attorney Doug Hayes. "This project is stalled because it would be a disaster for clean water, wildlife, the climate and public lands, and there's simply no way to approve it without ignoring bedrock environmental laws. This approval by the Bureau of Land Management is no exception, and the court should reject it."

As Common Dreams reported, construction of the pipeline is currently blocked with a Supreme Court ruling last week that the administration violated the Endangered Species Act when it issued Keystone a water-crossing permit for federal lands in Montana without assessing the impact to wildlife posed by the project.

"The Trump administration keeps trying to fast-track and rubber-stamp the boondoggle Keystone XL pipeline project, but they keep losing 'bigly' every time we take them to court," Bold Alliance founder Jane Kleeb said. "We will never back down after 10 years of standing together to protect farmers' and ranchers' livelihoods and our clean water, beloved endangered species like the whooping crane in Nebraska, and a livable climate for our grandchildren."

Marcie Keever, legal director of Friends of the Earth, said that the pipeline's construction "would be devastating for the tribes, farmers, and communities along its route."

"Those on the frontlines of dirty fossil fuel projects deserve a comprehensive environmental review to understand how those pipelines will impact their health and our environment," said Keever. "Like every action from the Trump administration, this is another attempt to ignore environmental and health concerns to curry favor with corporate polluters. Blocking this pipeline will help stop this administration's ongoing corruption."

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