- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 3, 2021

Two more states, Alaska and Florida, have joined the federal lawsuit challenging President Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline permit, bringing the number of states seeking to reinstate the project to 23.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsenannounced Thursday that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor were added to the amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

On his first day in office in January, Mr. Biden canceled the cross-border permit approved in 2017 by President Trump, part of the Democratic administration’s aggressive climate agenda aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An alliance of Republican state attorneys general has mobilized to reverse the order.

“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,” said Mr. Knudsen. “We will continue to fight 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 proposed pipeline extension, which begins in Canada and crosses the border at Montana on its way to Steele City, Nebraska, touches neither of the newly added states, but Republicans said the cancellation’s impact on the U.S. economy and energy independence would be profound.

“If Biden’s unilateral decision is legally effective, the highly anticipated jobs, businesses and investments will not materialize, and these communities will lose out on a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity,” said the Montana attorney general’s office. “It will also have a ripple effect that adversely impacts the economy and environment in non-pipeline states.”

Ms. Moody cited the disruptive impact of the Colonial Pipeline hack last month that shut down fuel supplies for weeks in the southeastern United States.

Mr. Biden‘s order, “halting construction of the Keystone Pipeline, is not only a jobs killer, it risks our nation’s energy independence and national security — we all saw last month how quickly losing access to just one pipeline can cause chaos and uncertainty in a large portion of our country,” she said.

The Keystone addition would have sent 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day through the pipeline on its way to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico, creating an estimated 42,100 jobs with $2 billion in associated U.S. earnings, including 3,700 direct construction jobs in Montana, said Mr. Knudsen.

In addition to Alaska, Florida, and Montana, the states joining the lawsuit are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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