Green groups ask judge to uphold freeze on Keystone pipeline

Green groups ask judge to uphold freeze on Keystone pipeline
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Environmental groups are asking a federal judge to uphold a freeze on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, despite a new Trump administration permit that seeks to circumvent the order.

In a a motion filed Tuesday with the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Northern Plains Resource Council and Fort Belknap Indian Community asked the court to reject requests by the Trump administration to dismiss the case.

Last month, President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE issued a new presidential pipeline permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to replace the 2017 permit currently held up in courts due to lacking environmental review. The administration argued the old permit would therefore be moot.

Earlier this month, the federal government and TransCanada, the Canadian-based company behind the proposed project, filed requests to have the case dismissed.

“The Court should not allow this gamesmanship. This case is not moot simply because there is a new permit for the same pipeline. There is no dispute that the law requires environmental review for this project, yet State and Defendant U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively 'Federal Defendants') have not remedied the violations found by the district court,” the environmental and landowner groups said in their brief.

The organizations argue the move is a transparent effort to avoid the court and would prime TransCanada to start construction of the pipeline immediately.

“The goal of this action was plain: to divest this Court of jurisdiction over the pending appeal and circumvent the district court’s orders invalidating the project’s environmental review documents and enjoining construction,” the groups wrote in their brief.

Sierra Club senior attorney Doug Hayes called the Trump administration’s move “shameless.”

“We’re urging the court to protect the American people by ensuring that construction on this dirty tar sands pipeline does not begin without a thorough accounting of the risks it would pose to our climate and communities.”

The White House did not return a request for comment.