Tag Archives: keystone pipeline

TransCanada Files $15 Billion Suit Against U.S. Government Over Keystone Rejection

On Wednesday, TransCanada Corp sued the U.S. government in an attempt to overturn President Obama’s Keystone XL pipeline rejection. In a second claim, TransCanada is seeking $15 billion in damages under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The Keystone XL pipeline was dealt a blow last year after President Obama vetoed legislation that had been approved by Congress. The Senate later failed to override the veto. The pipeline would transport oil from Canada’s tar sands to pipelines in refineries in Houston and other locations on the Gulf of Mexico.

Reuters reports that TransCanada filed the the lawsuit in a federal court in Houston, Texas, calling the rejection of its permit to build the pipeline “unconstitutional.” The company is asking the court to overturn Obama’s permit denial to complete the pipeline and a ruling that would block any future president from stopping the pipeline completion.

The Houston lawsuit names several officials as defendants, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of Interior.

Under the NAFTA claim, TransCanada is requesting $15 billion to recover its investment in the pipeline. TransCanada said it “had every reason to expect its application would be granted.” Chapter 11 of the NAFTA trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States gives investors the right to make claims against governments.

TransCanada told Reuters it was “prepared for a lengthy process that could take several years.”

Despite President Obama’s rejection of the project, lawmakers in some states still support the planned pipeline. South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission recently approved TransCanada’s permit to cross into the state.

On Monday Commissioner Gary Hanson said, “If the company secures a presidential permit and the pipeline is built, the PUC will monitor the progress to ensure the construction conditions are met.”

TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper told Courthouse News: “This decision in South Dakota further strengthens our commitment to Keystone XL, the safest and most environmentally sound way to transport needed Canadian and American oil to the people of the United States.”

The pipeline has been resisted by landowners in Nebraska, as well as indigenous communities. Critics also say the pipeline’s purported increasing of jobs is false.

There have also been disputes over official documents related to the permitting of the pipeline. For example, in early July, Truth In Media reported that Secretary of State John Kerry was issued a subpoena seeking the release of all “reports, recommendations, letters and comments received by the State Department from the advising agencies pursuant to Executive Order 13337 regarding the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.”

In a statement accompanying the subpoena, Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz stated that the State Department has been “uncooperative” and “shown an unwillingness to recognize the Committee’s legitimate interest in obtaining information.”

Surveillance State: FBI Spied on Keystone Pipeline Activists

The Keystone XL Pipeline is once again making headlines. The project, which proposes creating a 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada’s tar sands region to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, has been heavily debated among Democrats and Republicans for President Obama’s entire presidency. However, this time the controversy revolves around the Federal Bureau of Investigations monitoring of activists in Houston, Texas.

A new report from The Guardian reveals that the FBI violated its own internal regulations by spying on the Tar Sands Blockade, an activist group working to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and highlight dangers to the communities near the proposed pipeline.  A bill in favor of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline was recently vetoed by President Obama. Shortly after, the Senate failed to override the President’s veto, leaving the project in limbo.
The documents show that the bureau did not get proper approval before working with informants and opening files on protesters. The FBI also worked with TransCanada, promising to share “any pertinent intelligence regarding any threats” to the pipeline or the company.

The Guardian and Earth Island First Journal received 80 pages of documents from the FBI via a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Guardian reports:

“The documents reveal that one FBI investigation, run from its Houston field office, amounted to “substantial non-compliance” of Department of Justice rules that govern how the agency should handle sensitive matters.

One FBI memo, which set out the rationale for investigating campaigners in the Houston area, touted the economic advantages of the pipeline while labelling its opponents “environmental extremists”.”

Under the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the bureau outlines how special care must be taken for investigations that target elected officials, journalists and political organizations.

In order to launch an investigation into “sensitive investigative matters”, the bureau must first get approval of both the chief division counsel (CDC), the top lawyer in the field office, and the special agent in charge (SAC).

This investigation apparently took place without approval from the CDC and SAC in the Houston field office.

From November 2012 to June 2014, the FBI monitored the activist group, identifying members who took pictures of oil infrastructure, and maintained at least one informant. One of the documents refer to a source who had “good access and a history of reliable reporting”.

The FBI claims the situation was a failure that was fixed and reported internally.


Whatever your position on the politics of the Keystone XL Pipeline, it seems obvious that federal agencies like the FBI are largely ignoring their own rules to pursue a policy of assumed guilt. Activists practicing constitutionally protected activity continue to be targets of illegal investigations. At what point do Americans say enough is enough?



Rep. Justin Amash Destroys Challenger Brian Ellis on Local Talk Show

Michigan business leaders and the Republican establishment are putting money behind Brian Ellis to primary Rep. Justin Amash. They are unfairly blaming Amash for causing the Government shut down and criticizing his attempt to defund Obamacare.

On a local West Michigan radio show, Ellis said he is challenging Rep. Amash because his votes are not conservative enough, citing the Keystone Pipeline, the Paul Ryan budget, etc.

As Benswann.com’s Michael Lofti noted last month, Amash has a spotless record when it comes to core conservative values.

Ellis’ bizarre comment has sparked controversy in this heated race and is getting different reactions throughout the political spectrum.

“He’s the gold standard of principled constitutionalism in Congress,” Dean Clancy told The Hill. Clancy is the vice president of public policy at FreedomWorks and said, “We have heard that the K Street establishment wants to knock him off — and we intend to defend him punch-for-punch.”

The accusation of Amash’s voting record not being conservative conjured up a reaction from Amash himself who called the radio station to defend his record. Listen below.