Keystone builder suspends $15B challenge against US

Keystone builder suspends $15B challenge against US
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The company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline has suspended an international arbitration challenge that sought $15 billion from the United States government for blocking the project.

TransCanada Corp. filed a notice of the suspension Monday with the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, just over a month after President Trump wrote a memo to restart the federal consideration of the project, a decision that could make the arbitration moot.

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha confirmed the filing Tuesday but did not offer any additional comments.

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Trump asked TransCanada in January to apply again for a presidential permit for the controversial pipeline to cross the Canadian border, and told the State Department to decide within 60 days whether to issue the permit.

The pipeline developer sent in its new application days later.

Trump promised on the campaign trail that the project would be approved under his watch.

TransCanada filed the challenge last year, following former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNational security leaders: Trump's Iran strategy could spark war The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE’s 2015 rejection of its application to building the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.

The challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) made various claims against the federal government, including that it did not treat TransCanada the same as it would treat a United States-based company.

The company claimed that it lost $15 billion due to Obama’s decision and asked for that total in costs and damages. A final outcome of the arbitration project would have taken years.

Environmentalists oppose the project, saying it would be a disaster for the climate and environment.

TransCanada and the rest of the oil industry say it would be safe, and would better ensure that the United States gets energy from a friendly ally.

Upon Obama’s rejection, the company also filed a separate federal lawsuit against the State Department in Texas to try to force the approval. That court suspended the lawsuit shortly after Trump’s memo.