CALGARY – TransCanada Corp. said Wednesday it intends to file a challenge under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeking US$15-billion in damages from the United States government over President Barack Obama’s denial of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In addition, the Calgary-based company filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court in Houston claiming Obama’s decision to deny construction of Keystone XL exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution.
In a 27-page notice of intent to pursue the NAFTA challenge, the Calgary-based pipeline company said Obama’s denial was politically driven, directly contrary to the conclusions of own administration’s studies, and in violation of U.S. obligations under the agreement.
Obama betrayed America’s closest ally over Keystone XL to prop up climate change legacy
Canadians of every political persuasion should be dismayed by U.S. President Barack Obama’s cowardly rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline
After seven years of review involving massive documentation, scientific justification and billions in spending by TransCanada, Obama denied the permit Nov. 6, explaining: “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, and frankly approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”
The announcement was made just before the UN Climate Change summit in Paris, where Obama played a leadership role to encourage a global agreement to reduce global warming.
It was the first time the U.S. denied a permit for a cross-border pipeline – and the first time it used such rationale, TransCanada said late Wednesday.
The State Department concluded Keystone XL would not significantly increase global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and that, in fact, alternative methods of oil transportation were more GHG intensive, and concluded at least five times that Keystone XL would not have significant impacts to the environment, the company said.
“The administration sought to explain this perverse decision by saying that the pipeline was perceived to be bad for the environment, and the administration had to appease those in the international community who held that (false) belief,” TransCanada said in the NAFTA document.