US opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline filed a lawsuit on Friday to petition the Federal Court to declare President Donald Trump’s decision to issue a new license to circumvent a previous judgment illegal.
In November, District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the Trump administration did not fully consider the potential oil spills and other potential impacts of the project when it approved the pipeline in 2017.
Mr. Trump’s new license, issued last week, aims to circumvent this judgment and revive the project to move oil from Alberta’s oil sands to US refineries.
White House officials said the presidential permit was immune from judicial review. But according to some experts, it is not so certain and this file could once again give the opportunity to the courts to decide on the use of the presidential powers of Donald Trump.
Unlike previous Trump decrees, particularly in the area of immigration, his decision on Keystone XL came after a court had already thought about the issue and blocked the plans of the administration.
Alberta’s TransCanada project initiated discussions on the use of fossil fuels and climate change on both sides of the border.
Opponents argue that burning oil from the tar sands of western Canada would worsen climate change. Proponents of the US $ 8 billion project argue that it would create thousands of jobs and ensure that the pipeline can be operated safely.
The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil each day, some 1,900 kilometers long, from Alberta to Nebraska.
Stephan Volker, the environmental lawyer who filed the lawsuit Friday, says the president is trying to “escape the law” with the new license.
“We are optimistic that the federal courts – which protect our civil liberties – will once again meet the challenge and enforce the Constitution and laws of this country,” said Volker.
The White House said in a statement that under the new order, federal officials would continue to conduct environmental studies on the project.
TransCanada spokesman Matthew John said the administration’s decision “made it clear to the courts that the license is (the) product of the presidential decision-making process and that it should not be subject to additional environmental review. ”