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Keystone XL Faces New Lawsuit Over Environmental Permitting Process

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The Nebraska-based Bold Alliance launched yet another legal challenge to the Keystone XL pipeline last week, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision to halt construction due to a faulty environmental permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

After District Court Judge Brian Morris in Montana ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had violated the U.S. Endangered Species Act by issuing the permit, “the Army Corps had pushed to allow pipeline construction under the permit to continue during its appeal of the ruling in the Ninth Circuit,” the Alliance wrote [1] at the time. But the district court rejected the Army Corps’ request, and while the Supreme Court partially reversed that decision as it applied to other pipelines, it continued to “bar the construction of Keystone XL through rivers, streams, and wetlands while the appeal is heard.”

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Now, Bold is going after the approval and underlying review by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Fish and Wildlife Service, the Norfolk Daily News reports [3].

“The complaint alleges that these agencies’ reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act are riddled with the same errors and omissions as earlier versions deemed insufficient by a federal court in 2018,” the News writes. “The lawsuit also challenges BLM’s approval—made in reliance on flawed data and outdated spill response plans—under federal land management statutes.”

The Alliance filed the suit in Montana alongside the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the U.S. Sierra Club, the paper states. “The filing is the latest in a series of hurdles facing Keystone XL, including several other legal challenges, oil market chaos, and a recent commitment [4] by Joe Biden to rescind the pipeline’s permit should he be elected president.”