Late yesterday, the Obama-appointed Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana maintained his earlier decision suspending Nationwide Permit 12 – barring the Army Corps of Engineers from using its authority under the Clean Water Act to permit construction of new oil and gas pipelines. He did narrow his decision to allow the Corps to use the permit for non-pipeline construction projects and routine maintenance of existing infrastructure. His ruling specifically and immediately impacts the Keystone XL pipeline, however it could have broader implications for energy development if not overruled.
The following is a statement from the GAIN Coalition that you can attribute to me, Craig Stevens, GAIN spokesman:
“The court’s order flies in the face of common sense and throws our nation’s energy and economic security into peril. The judge sided with plants and animals over humanity in a decision that will directly impact hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs and likely raise the cost of energy. There are more than three million miles of pipelines in the United States transporting billions of gallons of crude oil and gasoline, and billions of cubic feet of natural gas products every day.
“Ignoring the near ubiquity of these pipelines – and their decades of safely transporting the energy we need on an on-demand basis – in defense of the possible idea of a potential leak demonstrates a caustic view of our country and its people. Instead of bowing to the implausible worst case of an unlikely pipeline discharge, policymakers and judges should consider the growth of technology in the midstream sector, the unparalleled track record of safety of pipelines, and humans’ need for reliable affordable energy and allow regulators, like the Army Corps of Engineers, to act in the best interests of our nation based on the best available science and data.”