A coalition of 21 states along with their attorneys general sued President Joe Biden on Wednesday, for signing an executive order to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline permit, a move they claimed should have been left for Congress to decide.
Biden revoked former President Donald Trump’s 2019 presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline via executive order during his first day in office. The pipeline was planned to span 1,700 miles from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast when completed, transporting approximately 800,000 barrels of oil per day through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
The results of the executive order left thousands of union workers without jobs amid the devastating coronavirus pandemic, leaving them unable to financially support themselves and their families.
The lawsuit led by Texas and Montana argued the executive order is a 'regulation of interstate and international commerce" that should have been decided upon by congress, not through executive action.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R) called Biden’s cancellation of the permit in a statement on the lawsuit “an empty virtue signal to his wealthy coastal elite donors.”
"The power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce belongs to Congress – not the President. This is another example of Joe Biden overstepping his constitutional role to the detriment of Montanans," he added.
In early February, fourteen state attorneys general sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to reconsider his executive order rescinding the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
The group said in the letter, "Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities. Even those states outside the path of the Keystone XL pipeline—indeed all Americans—will suffer serious, detrimental consequences."
The letter continued "Nowhere, however, do you explain how killing the Keystone XL pipeline project directly advances the goals of 'protect[ing] Americans and the domestic economy from harmful climate impacts.' Nor does your decision actually cure any of the climate ills you reference. Observers are thus left with only one reasonable supposition: it is a symbolic act of virtue signaling to special interests and the international community."