BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Attorneys for the Trump administration said a federal judge has no authority to second-guess a presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline as they seek to stop a lawsuit that would block the project.
Justice Department attorneys are due in U.S. District Court in Montana on Wednesday to defend the administration's March approval of the 1,179-mile pipeline - a lightning rod in the debate over what to do about climate change.
TransCanada - Proposal - Crude - Oil - Montana
The TransCanada proposal would transport Canadian crude oil through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with an existing system of lines to carry oil to Gulf Coast refineries.
The Obama administration rejected the project before the proposal was revived in March by President Donald Trump, who said it would create jobs and lead to greater energy independence.
Conservation - Groups - Organizations - Project - Argue
Conservation groups and Native American organizations that sued over the project argue that an environmental review completed in 2014 was inadequate. They've asked U.S. District Judge Brian Morris to revoke its permit.
Government attorneys said in their motion to throw out the case that Morris can't interfere because the Constitution gives Trump authority over matters of foreign affairs and national security.
Remedy - Plaintiffs - Injunction - Permit - Order
"The remedy that plaintiffs seek - an injunction against the presidential permit - is not available because such an order would impermissibly infringe on the president's authority," Justice Department attorney Bridget McNeil wrote.
The project's economics have shifted considerably since the pipeline was proposed in 2008, with low oil prices and the high cost of extracting Canadian crude from Alberta's oil sands now casting doubt on whether it would be profitable.
Opponents - Market - Changes - Arguments - Keystone
Opponents say those market changes undercut arguments from Keystone supporters that oil sands crude would get to consumers by another means if the pipeline was not built.
The opponents said the current market conditions should have been weighed by the...
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