“The power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress – not the President. This is another example of Joe Biden overstepping his constitutional role …”
I was wondering when someone would sue over Biden’s executive order halting construction of the Keystone Pipeline. That move has destroyed thousands of high-paying blue collar jobs, and together with other anti-energy moves, seriously damaged the nation’s energy independence.
If the roles were reversed, Democrat activist groups would have been in court the next day all across the country hoping some judge somewhere would agree with them and issue an injunction. That’s what happened in the travel cases, so many cases were filed in so many different district courts that opponents only needed to win once. It didn’t matter if Trump won most of them, even a single nationwide injunction stalled things for weeks or months until it got to the Supreme Court, where eventually Trump won.
Republicans have nothing approaching the legal infrastructure to resist Biden that Democrats had to resist Trump. Instead, Republicans have to rely on state Attorney Generals, who have limited standing to sue. So it was a good sign when Republican Attorneys General sent a letter to the Biden administration threatening suit.
And it’s even better that they filed suit today. From a press release by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen:
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 19 other state attorneys general filed suit today in United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas to block President Joe Biden’s unconstitutional and illegitimate attempt to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline (KXLP).
Despite several exhaustive studies undertaken by the Obama State Department that concluded the Keystone XL pipeline would boost the U.S economy, create American jobs, and safely transport oil throughout the country without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, Biden revoked the permit via executive order mere hours after reciting his oath of office. However, he did not have the power to do so.
“The power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress – not the President. This is another example of Joe Biden overstepping his constitutional role to the detriment of Montanans,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “There is not even a perceived environmental benefit to his actions – his attempt to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline is an empty virtue signal to his wealthy coastal elite donors. It shows Biden’s contempt for rural communities in Montana and other states along the pipeline’s path that would benefit from and support the project.”
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 attempt to block the construction and operation of the pipeline is also “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.
The Act required Obama to grant the application to construct and operate the cross-border facilities or report within 60 days to Congress why he thought the pipeline disserved the national interest. If he failed to grant the permit or make a negative national interest determination within that time, it provided that the KXLP permit “shall be in effect by operation of law.” , but then denied the permit because, he complained, Congress had not given him enough time to consider the matter. He did not report to Congress why he thought the KXLP disserved the national interest—which means the pipeline was authorized by default rule.
Further, Biden’s permit revocation and the administration’s attempts to carry it out also do not comport with the Administrative Procedure Act, violate the non-delegation doctrine, and are arbitrary and capricious.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare the section of Executive Order 13990 cancelling KXPL’s cross-border permit unconstitutional and unlawful and seeks to prevent the Biden administration from taking any action to enforce the permit revocation.
The other states joining Montana are co-lead plaintiff Texas, plus Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
You can read the Complaint here.DONATE
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