Eco groups sue fed to stop premature Keystone XL construction

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Thursday, October 06, 2011 at 9:30 am | More from The Michigan Messenger

Three environmental groups have filed suit in federal court against the U.S. Department of State and Department of the Interior to stop work on the Keystone XL pipeline before the project has received the approval of the federal government.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Nebraska Resources Council and Friends of the Earth sued the State Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today to stop illegal construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a sprawling, 1,700-mile project designed to transport tar-sands oil from Canada to Texas.

Although the State Department has not yet completed its review of the controversial project and last week held public meetings in Lincoln and Atkinson, Neb., that were attended by hundreds of citizens opposed to the project, the department and the Fish and Wildlife Service are already allowing TransCanada to clear the proposed pipeline route. Today’s lawsuit challenges work that the company has started in Nebraska and cites the agencies for violating the National Environmental Policy Act, which prohibits commencement of a project before it has been approved.

“It’s outrageous that TransCanada is already clearing the way for the Keystone XL pipeline before the public has had a chance to have its say and, indeed, before federal agencies have even said it can be built,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It looks like the fix is in on this dangerous project, and the sham public process is nothing more than an afterthought.”

Quietly, the State Department and Fish and Wildlife Service have allowed TransCanada to mow a pipeline corridor through about 100 miles of native prairie grasslands in Nebraska’s Sandhills and to remove endangered species living in the corridor.

The legal complaint is here.

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