Clinton, others sued over Alberta Clipper oil line approval

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC Sept. 4 -- Four environmental and Native American groups sued US Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton and other federal officials on Sept. 3 to protect US Department of State approval of the proposed Alberta Clipper oil pipeline.

The Indigenous Environmental Network, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, National Wildlife Federation, and Sierra Club filed their 37-page complaint in the US District Court for Northern California. They are represented by the nonprofit law firm Earthjustice.

The groups said they might sue after the State Department’s Aug. 24 approval for the 1,000-mile, 450,000 b/d line from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wis., to cross the Canadian-US border. The project’s sponsor, an Enbridge Energy Inc. subsidiary, said it hopes to have the system operating by mid-2010 after it receives other Canadian and US government permits.

In their complaint, the groups said the State Department and US Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by not adequately analyzing indirect and cumulative impacts of the proposed line.

They also said Congress has not fully relinquished its authority to regulate pipelines to the federal government’s executive branch, and that an executive order issued by then-US President George W. Bush giving the secretary of state authority to issue permits to export and import oil, petroleum products, and other fuels at US borders did not include tar sands crude from Canada.

“This project will lock our nation into a dirty energy infrastructure for decades to come,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. “Instead of increasing our reliance on oil and piping in pollution, the State Department should support clean, American energy and the jobs that come with it.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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