2016 News Releases

AG Schmidt backs legal defense of Keystone Pipeline

Release Date: May 12, 2016

TOPEKA – (May 12, 2016) – Officials in the Obama Administration illegally withheld approval of the required permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and five other state attorneys general told a federal court this week.

All six states along the route of the Canada to Texas pipeline joined in filing a friend of the court brief backing the pipeline in its lawsuit against the federal government. The states' brief was filed May 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

"The Executive’s broad assertion of authority to burden commerce in this case is of great concern to the States," the states wrote in their brief. "This assertion of expansive and unchecked power appears to have no limit and threatens to unacceptably infringe on the sovereignty of the states.... The States ask this Court to...declar[e] that the Executive lacks the authority to prohibit construction of the Pipeline because that authority lies exclusively with Congress and Congress has not delegated that power to the President."

The brief argues that the President has unlawfully infringed on Congress’s exclusive authority to regulate interstate and international commerce.  Additionally, the brief emphasizes the importance of the Pipeline to the states, including its substantial economic impact, and the overblown predictions about potential harm the pipeline could cause.

In 2013, Schmidt joined 20 other attorneys general in signing a petition to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking for approval of the Keystone Pipeline project in North America. But that approval has been withheld. The Keystone Pipeline proposal calls for crude oil pumped in Canada to be transported to facilities in the southern United States for petroleum refining.

"This pipeline is part of a reliable all-of-the-above energy mix for the United States," Schmidt said. "The Kansas portion is in place. Blocking its completion by executive fiat is a wasteful act of pure politics un-tethered from the law."

The states filing the amicus brief in the Keystone Pipeline case are Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas – all of the states through which the Pipeline will carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

A copy of the brief can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/24OgnQP .

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.