(COMMON DREAMS) Jamie Henn, January 9, 2016 — Talk about sore losers. The Canadian pipeline company TransCanada announced this afternoon that it is suing Obama Administration over its decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
The lawsuit won’t do anything to help get the pipeline built, it’s too late for that. The only purpose is for TransCanada to get compensated for the billions of dollars it wasted on this boondoggle in the first place. It’s a greedy and pathetic move, but I guess that’s what we’ve come to expect from the fossil fuel industry.
TransCanada is bringing their lawsuit under NAFTA, otherwise known as the North American Free Trade Agreement. More specifically, they’re using a complex and opaque process known as the investor-state dispute system, which allows corporations to bring lawsuits against countries that they feel are unfairly blocking the free flow of trade. TransCanada’s accusation is that the Obama Administration rejected Keystone XL for purely symbolic reasons, rather than its impact on the climate, and therefore the company has been discriminated against.
The accusation would normally be absurd (you can’t build an 800,000 barrel a day pipeline that would carry the dirtiest fuel on the planet without having a climate impact), except for the fact that during the State Department’s review process for the pipeline they hired an industry contractor that botched the job and made some roundabout arguments that because tar sands development was “inevitable” therefore the pipeline didn’t matter. Nearly all other independent analysts disagreed, as did the Environmental Protection Agency, and ultimately the White House. But the process created enough confusion that TransCanada may now actually have a case.