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Keystone XL Pipeline Cancellation Makes Suit Against Biden Moot

Jan. 6, 2022, 9:40 PM

Texas, Alabama, and several other states can’t proceed with their lawsuit over the Biden administration’s decision to revoke a permit for the now-canceled Keystone XL pipeline project, a Texas federal court ruled Thursday.

The states sued in March after President Joe Biden revoked a permit authorizing the construction and operation of the pipeline’s cross-border facilities. They argued the decision belonged to Congress and that they face millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.

TC Energy Corp.'s decision to cancel the project in June makes the lawsuit moot, the federal government told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in July. And the lawsuit should be dismissed anyway because the president isn’t an agency, and therefore his actions aren’t subject to judicial review, the Justice Department argued.

The court said it ‘takes TC Energy at its word that Keystone XL is dead.” Because it’s dead any ruling on whether Biden had the authority to revoke the permit “would be advisory,” according to the ruling.

VIDEO: We look at the series of high profile legal setbacks that has some in the industry asking—is it still possible to build pipelines in America?

It’s doubtful any win for the states would encourage TC Energy to start the “complex and lengthy process” of developing and permitting a new project from scratch, the court said.

TC Energy previously urged a federal court in Montana to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to issue the permit for the cross-border work. The court rejected the company’s motion July 30, saying its cancellation of the pipeline didn’t affect the status of the case.

Judge Jeffrey V. Brown issued the opinion.

The states were represented by their respective attorneys general and justice departments. The Justice Department represented the federal government.

The case is Texas v. Biden, S.D. Tex., No. 3:21-cv-00065, 1/6/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maya Earls in Washington at mearls@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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