On his first day in office, President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, the oil pipeline that runs through Canada and part of the U.S. His reason was that it would be harmful to the environment.
Twenty-one states then filed a lawsuit in March against the administration, questioning Biden’s authority to revoke the permit, as NBC News reported. A few months later, in June, Alaska and Florida also joined the lawsuit, bringing the total to 23 states against the Biden administration’s action.
However, in June, TC Energy Corporation, the Canada-based energy company and owner of the pipeline, canceled the project, as Bloomberg reported.
In light of TC Energy’s cancellation, on Thursday, a federal judge dismissed the multiple states’ lawsuit, as The Washington Times reported.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown said that TC Energy’s decision to terminate the $8 billion, 1,200-mile project meant the lawsuit was now moot.
“But the court takes TC Energy at its word that Keystone XL is dead. And because it is dead, any ruling this court makes on whether President Biden had the authority to revoke the permit would be advisory,” Brown wrote in his decision. “Thus, the court has no jurisdiction and the case must be dismissed as moot.”
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, whose state was part of the suit, called the situation “unfortunate.”
Knudsen said it was regrettable that the question of whether the president has the authority to revoke a congressionally approved cross-border permit would go unaddressed “because TC Energy inserted itself into the court proceedings unprompted.”
In previous comments, Knudsen had argued that once Congress gives approval to a permit, constitutionally, a president does not have the authority to then rescind that.
“The Constitution is clear that presidents do not have the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce or to unilaterally undo an act of Congress,” Knudsen said in a statement published by the Montana Department of Justice.
“We will continue to fight to this federal overreach — along with the 22 other states — so that Montanans can benefit from the jobs, tax revenue, and enhanced energy independence the Keystone XL will bring to our communities.”
The jobs and infrastructure that the pipeline would have brought to communities was another major reason so many states were pushing for the pipeline to be completed and put into operation.
The construction of the pipeline provided thousands of jobs, even if they were just temporary, as the Austin American-Statesman reported.
TC Energy hired American contractors for the construction and those contractors were responsible for hiring 7,000 union workers.
“When combined with additional 2021 contracts to be announced later, the total number of American union workers constructing Keystone XL in 2021 will exceed 8,000 and $900 million in gross wages. In total, Keystone XL is expected to employ more than 11,000 Americans in 2021, creating more than $1.6 billion in gross wages,” a news release from TC Energy read, according to the American-Statesman.
There has been a lot of debate over the number of jobs the pipeline would create and whether those job losses were as serious as many Republicans have alleged.
Many opponents of Keystone XL claimed that the jobs lost were only going to be temporary jobs anyway since they were mainly related to building the pipeline. But temporary jobs are still important. There are thousands of Americans who rely on temporary jobs like that to feed their families.
With TC Energy’s decision to shut down the project and this final blow against the lawsuit, however, it all seems to be a moot point.
The Keystone Pipeline could have provided jobs and simplified oil production and transportation for North America, but now Americans will likely never know how impactful (negatively and positively) it could have been.