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TransCanada rallies Keystone XL supporters

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World Pipelines,

Six states – Oklahoma, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas – and the US Chamber of Commerce are supporting TransCanada in a lawsuit with US President Barack Obama over the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project.

The pipeline was denied approval by Obama in November 2015, with Obama stating: "The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.” The Keystone XL would have connected crude oilfields in Canada with American refineries; it would have created 42 000 jobs; and it would have generated US$3.4 billion in economic growth. The majority of Americans were in favour of the project.

The US Chamber of Commerce has argued that the Constitution enables the Congress “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.” The Commerce frequently voted in favour of the pipeline project, yet Obama was able to deny the line due to it crossing a foreign border (to Canada).

The Chamber wrote: “The government’s approach not only violates the Constitution’s separation of powers, but also would create severe uncertainty over trade policy, destabilising the American economy and hurting American businesses.”

Similarly, the six states believe Obama has exceeded his authority, and that he “seeks to prohibit a means of interstate and international commerce desired by both the states and by Congress because, in his view, overriding the states and Congress is necessary to preserve his stature on the world stage and his bargaining position in ongoing or future multinational negotiations.”

Bill Snape, Attorney for the Centre for Biological Diversity, stated: “[The six states] are basically asking the court to second-guess the president on a national interest decision … This law allows the President to make this decision and he gets to make it based on his interpretation of national interest.”

“In [President Obama’s] view, overriding the States and Congress is necessary to preserve his stature on the world stage and his bargaining position in ongoing or future multinational negotiations,” the attorneys general for the six states wrote.

The states have made the following statement and will let the court decide: “The executive lacks the authority to prohibit construction of the pipeline because that authority lies exclusively with Congress, and Congress has not delegated that power to the President.”

Edited from various sources by Stephanie Roker

Sources: Bucks County Courier Times, The Hill, Think Progress

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