When President Obama denied a permit in November that would allow our company to build the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada responded that “misplaced symbolism was chosen over merit and science—rhetoric won out over reason.” Last week the company filed a federal lawsuit asserting that the president lacks the power under the U.S. Constitution to prohibit construction of the pipeline.
TransCanada also gave notice of its intent to recover damages caused by the administration’s denial of a permit as a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). Given the significance of the administration’s decision and our actions in response, further context and explanation are warranted.
For 65 years, TransCanada has built oil and gas pipelines in North America. It’s a job the company is good at, and one we much prefer to building lengthy legal filings that could take several years to resolve. Still, when TransCanada in 2008 walked its application for a presidential permit into the U.S. State Department, the company was prepared for an extensive evidentiary process—albeit one that has traditionally been straightforward.