As we near the first days of a new Trump administration, investors are now taking stock of the pipeline and its partners.
The keystone pipeline, for example, has become a target of political pressure, particularly as Trump’s pick for energy secretary, Rick Perry, has said the pipeline will be an “unmitigated disaster.”
The pipeline is now also a subject of a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), an environmental legal advocacy group, and a group of investors who have been trying to buy the Keystone.
They have so far raised about $1.5 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, and have set aside $200 million in their campaign coffers to help them pursue the pipeline’s purchase.
In their filing, the SELC and investors cite several cases in which the Trump administration’s Department of Energy (DOE) has refused to purchase the pipeline, citing a lack of sufficient environmental analysis.
The case stems from the DOE’s refusal to purchase Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway Pipeline, a project that would carry crude oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.
“This case is one of the first to be filed in the U.S. regarding the pipeline in light of the Department of the Interior’s refusal, and the Trump Administration’s actions,” said Jamey Wainstein, a senior partner with the law firm of Bock & Co. who is representing the SELLERS Pipeline Partners, the investors who are attempting to purchase it.
According to the complaint, the Trump-era DOE has issued a moratorium on all purchases of pipelines that would transport oil and natural gas, as well as a moratorium for oil and gas drilling and oil extraction.
But, in recent weeks, the DOE has been under pressure to purchase pipeline assets in order to expedite the completion of the Keystone XL, which was approved by the federal government last year.
While the DOE is not obligated to purchase a pipeline under this moratorium, it is seeking to acquire at least three of the four pipelines, the complaint said.
As of June 10, the company had not acquired any pipeline assets that could be sold under the moratorium, according, according the complaint.
One of the three pipelines that the SELPs Pipeline Partners want to purchase is the Keystone, which would run from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Kansas.
Under the moratorium on purchasing pipeline assets, the NEPA requires that all pipeline projects must have an environmental assessment and environmental impact statement in place to determine whether the project is environmentally friendly.
There is no environmental impact study required for the Keystone or any other pipeline project, according.
Additionally, the Pipeline Partners is seeking at least $1 billion to purchase all pipeline assets for at least five years, the suit said.
The DOE, the court filing said, “has been acting as an obstructionist to these efforts by blocking the acquisition of the proposed pipeline in the face of its clear environmental and social benefits.”
In addition, the Energy Department has refused several requests from the SELP for additional information about the pipeline or to clarify any of the NEPLs environmental impact statements, the filing said.
The SELLers Pipeline Partners’ request for a moratorium is in response to the DOE not taking action to purchase Keystone, the lawsuit said.
“The DOE has ignored a court order for an environmental impact assessment of the project, and it has refused the SELEPs request to purchase any of Enbridge’s pipelines, thus preventing the sale of any pipeline asset,” the suit stated.
Meanwhile, a different pipeline is also on the market, the KeystoneXL Pipeline, which has been in the pipeline debate for a decade, since the U