Energy & Environment

Supreme Court reinstates fast-track pipeline permitting except for Keystone XL

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The Supreme Court on Monday reinstated the use of a permit that’s used to fast-track pipeline construction, except in the case of the Keystone XL pipeline.

A lower court ruled in April that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not follow environmental requirements when it reissued the permit, known as Nationwide Permit 12, preventing it from being used across the country. But on Monday, the high court allowed the permit to go back into effect for most pipelines. 

However, it refused to renew the use of the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which was the subject of the original case. 

Pipeline company TC Energy said in a statement on the ruling that it would still be “fully committed” to the Keystone pipeline but also said it would continue to “evaluate our 2020 U.S. scope.”

“While today’s ruling from the Supreme Court is positive for the oil and gas industry overall, it continues to delay large portions of construction on our Keystone XL project and the thousands of high-paying union jobs that come with it.,” the company said. 

Opponents of the Keystone pipeline characterized the Supreme Court ruling as a setback for the project even though other pipelines can now use the permit. 

“Today’s ruling makes clear that the builders of Keystone XL can’t rely on a flawed, rubber-stamped permit to force the project’s construction through our wetlands, streams, and rivers,” said a statement from Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Cecilia Segal. “It’s a resounding victory for the communities and imperiled species living along this pipeline’s proposed route. Keystone XL is not in our national interest and should never be built.”

On Sunday, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy announced they would cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s construction and cited the previous ruling in its decision.

Following the Monday night news, some called for the companies to change their minds. 

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision comes on the heels of a deeply disappointing announcement Sunday to halt construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – a shortsighted move that will cost West Virginians more than 1,500 jobs. If ever there was a time to revisit a decision, this would be it,” said a statement from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R). 

However, a Duke Energy spokesperson told The Hill in an email that the ruling does not change Sunday’s announcement.

–This report was updated on July 7 at 9:34 a.m.

Tags Dakota Access Pipeline Duke Energy Keystone XL pipeline Supreme Court US Army Corps of Engineers
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