Environmental Organizations File Complaint Challenging Keystone XL Pipeline Project

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and the North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA) claimed an oil pipeline project breaches federal laws and is harmful to the environment in a District of Montana lawsuit filed Friday. The case was filed against the United States Bureau of Land Management, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Department of State, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, individuals associated with those organizations, and the President of the United States.

According to the filing, the Army Corps of Engineers adopted a final Decision Document and Finding of No Significant Impact in early 2017 regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline project which was proposed by Transcanada Keystone Pipeline LP and TC Energy Corporation. The plaintiffs claimed that this project, and the act of approving it, violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

The proposed project is a 1,209-mile pipeline that would start in Canada and travel through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The plaintiffs claim that it would “pose grave risks to the environment, including the climate, cultural resources, water resources, fish and wildlife, and human health and safety.” 

Friday’s complaint said that the issuance of the permit relied on inadequate information and that implementation of it is unlawful. The plaintiffs reported that they challenged the permit in a separate legal action in April, which is still pending. The complaint lists allegations against each defendant arguing that they breached federal regulations in approving the project. 

IEN and NCRA asked the court to rule that the Corps of Engineers violated the NEPA when doing their Environmental Impact Statement, rule that approvals by other defendants breached federal law, and enjoin the defendants and the companies which proposed the project from moving it further. 

The plaintiffs are represented by the Law Offices of Stephan C. Volker and Patten, Peterman, Bekkedahl & Green, PLLC