Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said in an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Matt Boyle he believes President Joe Biden’s executive order to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline is unconstitutional.
And 21 other attorneys general across the country are joining Knudsen in a lawsuit challenging Biden’s move.
“Interstate and international commerce, according to the Constitution, has to be regulated by Congress not by the president,” Knudsen said. “And that’s really the crux of our argument here.”
“I think we have a strong Constitutional case,” Knudsen said.
Knudsen said it takes more than the stroke of a pen to put in place policies that impact millions of Americans in many states.
“Joe Biden doesn’t get to step in here on Day One, with no comment, no process, no talking to any stakeholders … come in here with a foregone conclusion and just wipe this thing out,” Knudsen said.
Knudsen spoke about what shutting down Keystone means in just Montana where 300 miles of pipeline already traverses across the state and many of those miles are in the poorest counties in the state.
“This pipeline project was set to become the largest property tax payer in all of these counties,” Knudsen said. “And was going to bring in $50 million to $60 million just in property tax revenue to the state and to these counties.”
“That’s a huge shot in the arm for local governments, for fire departments, for roads, for police, for schools — just go down this list,” Knudsen said.
The shutdown also wipes out thousands of jobs directly and indirectly created and sustained by the pipeline.
“Approximately 12,000 of the 42,100 total jobs needed to construct and operate the Keystone XL, would be located in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas,” the lawsuit stated.
Moreover, before Biden took office the pipeline was up and running because it was put online through Congressional action.
“[The pipeline] has been vetted for years,” Knudsen said. “It was actually already approved by the U.S. Congress once, clear back in 2011.”
“President Obama at that time had his chance to veto that bill and he didn’t do it,” Knudsen said.
“Joe Biden doesn’t get to veto it after the fact,” Knudsen said.
Knudsen said he hopes the lawsuit filed earlier this month with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Galveston Division will result in the short term the judge issuing a preliminary injunction to prevent Biden from permanently shutting down the pipeline while the case is litigated.
The case is Texas v. Biden, No. 3:21-cv-65 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
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