Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced that Oklahoma, joined by five other states, filed an amicus brief, or “friend of the court brief,” supporting TransCanada’s federal lawsuit that claims the president exceeded his constitutional authority in blocking construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The brief, which argues that the authority to approve the construction of the pipeline, as a matter of interstate and international commerce, lies with Congress, not the president, is supported by every state that the pipeline passes through: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
“States like Oklahoma, which the Keystone XL Pipeline runs through, want this project completed,” said Pruitt. “Oklahoma’s economy has already been boosted by the creation of good-paying jobs, and the project will continue to create jobs throughout the rest of the country. Congress has the sole authority to approve the project, and they have already done so.
“It is unconscionable that the president and his administration would continue to interfere with the completion of the pipeline despite the fact that he has no authority to unilaterally prohibit any and all foreign commerce he does not like. Furthermore, the president’s own State Department has concluded, after years of study, that the pipeline will do little to directly harm the environment or increase greenhouse gas emissions, so his actions to prohibit the pipeline are solely an attempt to place his ‘legacy’ and political ambition above our country’s ability to move closer to energy independence.”
According to the brief:
“In this case, the states’ interest and the national interest is in promoting environmentally-sound interstate and international commerce by constructing the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would lead to tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic development, especially in small and often struggling communities in the Amici States. Because the Constitution vests the power to regulate interstate and international commerce, such as the Pipeline, exclusively in the Congress, and Congress has expressed its approval of the Pipeline, the Executive has acted unlawfully in its interference with interstate and international commerce by prohibiting the pipeline.”