Court halts lawsuit over Keystone XL

Court halts lawsuit over Keystone XL
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A federal court has put a hold on a lawsuit filed by the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline in an effort to force the U.S. government to approve the controversial project.

Houston-based Judge Kenneth Hoyt wrote in a late Monday order that TransCanada Corp.’s lawsuit should be paused after President Trump’s memo last week to restart the application process for the oil pipeline.

“The Department of State’s decision has the potential to render the matters now before this Court moot,” Hoyt wrote.

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TransCanada filed the lawsuit last year following former President Obama’s November 2015 decision to reject its application for a permit to cross the United States-Canada border.

The parties to the case went through the full briefing process last year, but Hoyt had not yet scheduled oral arguments.

Trump's memo last week invited TransCanada to submit a new application — which it did days later — and instructed the State Department to approve it within 60 days, which falls in late March.

Hoyt said he would reopen the case in May and decide, based on the Trump administration’s actions, whether to completely dismiss the litigation.

TransCanada also filed last year a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement seeking $15 billion from the U.S. government for the money it says it lost due to the Obama administration’s rejection, which the company said violates the trade deal.

The company has not moved to close that arbitration action, although Trump’s approval would make it moot.