President Barack Obama’s decision to stop the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the U.S. last November was met with praise from environmental and land-rights groups alike, but now TransCanada Corp. is suing his administration over it.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on Jan. 6, the Calgary, Canada-based company said that Obama exceeded his power by denying construction, the Los Angeles Times reported. The company was going to build some 2,639 miles of cross-border pipeline that would have transported cruise oil to Gulf Coast refineries.
In a statement, TransCanada claimed that the U.S. State Department said Obama’s rejection of the construction wasn’t about the pipeline’s merits.
“Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the Administration’s leadership on climate change and the President’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers," according to the statement.
Obama isn’t personally named as a defendant in the lawsuit, but the claim seeks to have his denial of the permit invalidated and a ruling that no president can block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, Reuters reported. Though the lawsuit doesn’t seek outright monetary damages, it does request $15 billion under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to recoup the costs of its investment in the pipeline.
TransCanada filed a separate motion with NAFTA, saying the permit denial was “arbitrary and unjustified."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backed the pipeline, but he hasn’t actively fought Obama’s decision, saying in the past that Canada’s relationship with the U.S. is “much bigger than any one project.”