TransCanada sues United States over KXL rejection, wants $15 billion

Lisa Neff, Staff writer

TransCanada Corp. on Jan. 7 sued the United States seeking $15 billion in compensation after the Obama administration rejected its request for a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

“TransCanada was wrong to try to ram the dirty tar sands pipeline down our throats — and it’s wrong to try to force American taxpayers to pony up for its mistakes,” said Anthony Swift, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s Canada project. “This is about a foreign company trying to undercut safeguards that protect the American people. Its attempt to bully us deserves to be rejected.”

Jason Kowalski, policy director for 350.org, one of the environmental groups that led the effort against the pipeline, added, “This won’t actually help build the pipeline, too late for that. It’s just a greedy and desperate move by TransCanada to try and salvage some of the money they wasted on this ridiculous boondoggle.”

The company alleged Barack Obama exceeded his constitutional authority in denying the pipeline, claiming the president’s denial of the pipeline permit was a symbolic gesture to show his support for action against climate change.

TransCanada also is using a provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement to sue the United States. The provision — the investor-state dispute settlement — gives corporations the power to sue governments for decisions taken in the broader public interest.

Kowalski said the lawsuit “is a reminder that we shouldn’t be signing new trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership that allow corporations to sue governments that try and keep fossil fuels in the ground.”