Environmental groups launch legal action against Trump administration over Keystone XL Pipeline

Lawsuits have been launched by several environmental groups against the Trump administration yesterday challenging its decision to approve construction of TransCanada Corp's controversial Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

Environmental groups argued that the US state department, which granted the permit required for the pipeline to cross the Canadian border, relied on an "outdated and incomplete environmental impact statement" when making its decision earlier this month.

In their filing, the National Environmental Policy Act, and groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and the Northern Plains Resource Council claimed that the pipeline had been approved without public input and an up-to-date environmental assessment. The administration had violated the National Environmental Policy Act, they said.

"They have relied on an arbitrary, stale, and incomplete environmental review completed over three years ago, for a process that ended with the state department's denial of a cross-border permit," the court filing said.

In a separate filing, the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance sought injunctive relief, restraining Transcanada from initiating any action that would harm the "physical environment in connection with the project pending a full hearing on the merits."

"This tar sands pipeline poses a direct threat to our climate, our clean water, wildlife, and thousands of landowners and communities along the route of this dirty and dangerous project, and it must and will be stopped," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, groups including Sierra Club had joined  forces and were renewing their efforts to take down TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL line, a project that had the state department's nod to carry Canada's oil to the Gulf Coast.

They were also taking advantage of 300,000 new supporters and a surge in donations made to fight Dakota Access and Keystone to target smaller pipelines that had earlier not drawn attention.

''We do plan to double down on Keystone, and we plan to use Keystone as a launching point to change a lot of hearts and minds and to fight multiple other projects at once,'' Sara Shor, a campaign manager at the New York-based environmental group 350.org, told Bloomberg by phone.