Groups Challenge President’s Approval of Keystone Pipeline

     WASHINGTON (CN) – President Bush granted a permit allowing the Keystone Pipeline to transport heavy crude oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries in the United States without considering its impact on the human environment or global warming, environmentalists claim in Federal Court.

     The National Resources Defense Council, the Dakota Resource Council and Dakota Rural Action say the more than 1,300-mile pipeline will bring environmental destruction with the oil it pumps into U.S. refineries and terminals. Federal law requires the government, specifically the U.S. Department of State in this case, to consider all “reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts” of the pipeline before granting a presidential permit allowing the pipeline to cross the United States, the plaintiffs claim.
     They say they “repeatedly admonished” the defendants that the National Environmental Policy Act “requires them to address (and, as warranted, to mitigate) the predictable increases in pollution from the refining of oil transported through the pipeline,” the suit claims, but the government “refused to consider these environmental impacts, and permitted the pipeline without the benefit of this important information.”
     Environmental groups allege the pipeline will increase air and water pollution for residents in the Midwest and Gulf regions, where refineries will receive the 435,000 barrels of oil per day pumped from Canada. The increased refining and other industrial activity will also release more greenhouses gases into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming, the lawsuit claims.
     The plaintiffs urge the court to halt construction of the pipeline and order the defendants to revoke the presidential permit “until they properly address all significant environmental effects that are likely to result from the pipeline, as required by law.”
     Plaintiffs are represented by Aaron Colangelo, Mitchell Bernard, Nancy Marks and Aaron Bloom of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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