Argues power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress, not executive
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 18, 2021) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today announced that he joined a 21-state coalition in filing a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas against the Biden Administration’s unconstitutional attempt to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Despite several exhaustive Obama-era studies conducted by the State Department, which concluded the Keystone XL Pipeline would boost the economy, create jobs, and safely transport oil throughout the country without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the Biden Administration issued an executive order revoking the permit hours after taking office.
“The Biden Administration’s order revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline violates the rule of law, harms the creation of jobs, threatens U.S. energy independence, and creates negative ripple effects for non-pipeline states, like Kentucky,” said Attorney General Cameron. “Instead of following the law, the Biden Administration is intent on pursuing an extreme climate agenda that will harm Kentuckians and all Americans. The U.S. Constitution clearly gives the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce to Congress, and we believe the Administration’s actions are unconstitutional.”
In their lawsuit, the coalition argues that President Biden does not have the authority to dismiss the pipeline permit. The lawsuit states, “The decision to provide or withhold permission to construct and operate an oil pipeline across the international border with Canada is a regulation of international and interstate commerce. Under the Constitution, this power resides with Congress." Therefore, “President Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL permit exceeded the scope of his authority under Article II of the Constitution.”
The coalition also contends that the Biden Administration’s decision violates the separation of powers outlined by the Constitution. They state that these actions are “contrary to law and an affront to the Constitution’s separation of powers,” as Congress expressly permitted the project in the 2011 Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act.
In their suit, the attorneys general ask the court to declare President Biden’s Executive Order cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline cross-border permit unconstitutional and prevent the Biden Administration from taking any additional action to enforce the permit revocation.
If the lawsuit is not successful and Biden’s decision remains in effect, many minority and low-income populations located within the proposed project area will not reap the benefit of jobs generated by this once-in-a-generation economic opportunity. Cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline permit will also have adverse impacts on the U.S. economy and environment in non-pipeline states.
Attorney General Cameron was joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming in filing the lawsuit as plaintiffs.
To view a copy of the complaint, click here.