Environmental -- 2017

TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline, LP v. Kerry   (S.D. Texas)

Challenge to Executive authority to block Keystone XL Pipeline

The State Department’s prohibition of the Keystone XL pipeline violated the constitutional separation of powers. That's the message the NAM provided to a federal judge in Texas in this case challenging the Obama Administration's decision to reject the proposed pipeline.

The Constitution clearly grants to Congress the authority to regulate foreign commerce. While the Executive branch possesses the implied authority to regulate foreign affairs, it does not have the authority to usurp the power of Congress to regulate commerce on the basis of an attenuated, unrelated foreign affairs concern, particularly when Congress has clearly and repeatedly acted to demonstrate its support for construction of the pipeline. While the President has noted that the pipeline crosses an international border, the justification offered for regulating the pipeline has nothing to do with border crossing, relations with Canada, or national security. Rather, the President wishes to impinge on congressional authority to regulate commerce in this case to create a helpful bargaining chip in the unrelated matter of the Paris Climate Change talks. This is not a permissible exercise of the foreign affairs power. The case was dismissed on 3/31/2017 following approval of the pipeline permit by the Trump administration.

Related Documents:
NAM amicus brief  (May 9, 2016)


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