Washington DC [US], March 20 (ANI/Sputnik): A lawsuit filed by 21 Republican-led US states seeking to revive the Keystone XL pipeline after it was blocked by President Joe Biden stands on solid legal grounds but the outcome of the legal battle is difficult to predict, US oil and gas consultants told Sputnik.
Keystone is an oil pipeline system that moves Alberta crude oil from the Canadian town of Hardisty to refineries and tank farms in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. The first three phases of the system are currently operational, however, the construction of the fourth phase, better known as Keystone XL, which is planned to transport oil to the US state of Nebraska, has caused a major uproar on both sides of the border.
Earlier this week, attorney generals from 21 Republican-led states filed a lawsuit against Biden over his cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
"The legal challenges are on very solid ground," Greg Lamberson, head of International Construction Consulting, told Sputnik. "Based on previous years of legal, technical, environmental challenges, there is no lawful nor technical basis for cancelling the project. So, there is solid standing for the lawsuit."
However, Lamberson said some recent court rulings, or even their willingness to hear cases, have been puzzling, so how this new legal challenge will be decided is a "roll of the dice".
The lawsuit claims that Biden's order "cites no statutory or other authorisation permitting the President to change energy policy," arguing that "the President lacks the power to enact his 'ambitious plan' to reshape the economy in defiance of Congress's unwillingness to do so".
Filed in the Southern District of Texas, the suit presents as plaintiffs the attorney generals of Texas and Montana in addition to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Among the first batch of executive orders signed on inauguration day, Biden issued one that suspended the construction of the contentious Keystone XL pipeline project citing environmental concerns.
Doyle Sanders, an oil and gas pipeline engineer who also works as a consultant in the industry, told Sputnik the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline was a political action by the Biden administration that has a far-reaching economic impact on many US workers and suppliers.
"While I am hopeful that the legal challenges will have a positive impact on national consensus to support this project, the White House executive orders seem to be overriding common sense in this and other national concerns," Sanders added.
Sanders said he expects the court battles for these lawsuits will extend beyond the 2022 congressional elections that should overturn political control from Democrats.
The Keystone XL pipeline project was twice rejected by the Obama administration but was backed by former President Donald Trump. In September, the US Supreme Court rejected a request from the Trump administration and the pipeline's parent company, TC Energy, to dismiss a lower court ruling blocking further construction of the pipeline because of a violation related to a water-crossing permit. (ANI/Sputnik)