Attorney General Curtis Hill has asked a federal appeals court to reverse a lower court ruling that brought pipeline construction to a grinding halt nationwide.
He and 16 other states’ attorneys general filed a brief late Wednesday arguing that a federal district judge inappropriately transformed a case challenging one project into a nationwide injunction that affected new oil and gas pipelines in every state — no matter the project’s length, purpose or minimal environmental effect.
This coalition of 17 states won a stay in July at the U.S. Supreme Court. Now its member states seek ultimate reversal of the lower court ruling.
“Few of us think very often about the thousands of miles of crude oil pipelines that crisscross the United States,” Attorney General Hill said. “Like the electrical grid that enables us to light a room at the flip of a switch, we largely take such infrastructure for granted. But the recent expansion of these pipelines is a testament to American prosperity, signifying our nation’s increased production of domestic oil. And we must protect our ability to keep building them.”
The original lawsuit in this case focused on a permit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline. The coalition argues the district court order inappropriately used that issue to strike down all projects that employed the same permitting process nationwide.
The coalition contends the district court ruling, if allowed to stand, would make needed infrastructure projects significantly more costly and time-consuming — and potentially render some completely unfeasible, thus eliminating an untold number of jobs.