TransCanada, the company that waited seven years for President Obama to finally nix the Keystone XL Pipeline, has filed a suit against the administration–which seems important to me, even if it has received scant media attention.
Fled in a federal court in Houston Wednesday, the suit alleges that President Obama violated the U.S. Constitution:
TransCanada on Wednesday accused President Obama in a federal lawsuit of exceeding his constitutional authority when rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline and, in a separate challenge, said the White House violated a historic trade agreement, igniting an election-year battle over a project that most considered dead — at least until the next president takes office in one year.
The company, which proposed the project nearly a decade ago, is seeking $15 billion in damages from the U.S. for the “loss of value” of assets related to Keystone.
President Obama treated the Canadian company disgracefully–stringing them alone, asking for more study, even though the project had already been studied to death, until, when he felt that there would be no political fallout, rejecting the pipeline. He probably knew all along that he would side with extreme environmentalists, who share his views, and it was just a matter of timing.
President Obama is not named in the suit, but Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of Interior, are. The government of Canada is not involved in the suit.
The Washington Times report continues:
“In its decision, the U.S. State Department acknowledged the denial was not based on the merits of the project,” TransCanada said in a statement. “Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the administration’s leadership on climate change and the president’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers.”
The company argues that Mr. Obama “intruded on Congress’s power to regulate interstate and international commerce” and blatantly disregarded the will of the legislative branch. Congress last year passed a bill approving Keystone, but the president vetoed it.
And this could also be significant:
In a separate legal action, the Canadian company filed a challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement saying the president’s decision was “arbitrary and unjustified” and violated a portion of the landmark trade deal.
The company's U.S. lawsuit does not seek monetary damages but wants the permit denial invalidated and seeks a ruling that no future president can block construction. Its request for $15 billion under NAFTA reflects its desire to recover its investment in the pipeline.
. . .
"Presumably they have a case that there are damages, as they were led to believe that if they did these things they'd get it across the line, but they weren't able to," said portfolio manager Ryan Bushell at Leon Frazer & Associates in Toronto, whose firm owns more than a million shares in TransCanada.
"I'd imagine that this is more than a PR move and they believe they have a real case."
Zerohedge has some interesting comments, including the idea that, if the suit goes forward, the discovery process could get awfully interesting. There are also implications for future trade deals.