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News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network


On July 10, 2019, the lead Plaintiffs in the original litigation that halted the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline — the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA) — filed a motion in Montana Federal Court seeking an injunction blocking construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The motion argues that President Trump’s issuance on March 29, 2019 of a second Presidential Permit reapproving the Keystone XL Pipeline was unconstitutional and unlawfully evades the additional environmental reviews that the federal courts have previously ordered. The Keystone XL Pipeline would pose grave risks to the environment, including the climate, cultural resources, water resources, fish and wildlife, and human health and safety.   


The Keystone XL Pipeline would be an environmental disaster. The 830,000 barrels per day of toxic tar sands oil it would unleash could push global warming beyond the point of no return, propelling our Planet into an ecological tailspin. The Indigenous Nations and the conservation community are united in their condemnation of this reckless, unneeded and destructive project.

On March 27, 2017, the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance filed the first suit against President Trump’s original Presidential Permit approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. They won a series of rulings in Montana Federal Court, culminating in Judge Brian Morris’ Final Judgment on November 8, 2018 overturning the approval because it violated federal environmental laws. 

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After TransCanada appealed Judge Morris’ ruling, on March 15, 2019 these Plaintiffs won a second victory, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected TransCanada’s appeal.

Having lost in both the trial and appellate courts, on March 29 President Trump resorted to the extreme measure of openly defying those court orders by reapproving the Keystone XL Pipeline with a new Presidential Permit without conducting the additional environmental reviews that the courts had ordered. However, because President Trump revoked his 2017 Presidential Permit, the Court of Appeal ruled that the litigation challenging that permit was moot and thus has been dismissed. 

Therefore, to block the Keystone XL Pipeline the Indigenous Environmental Network and the North Coast Rivers Alliance have once again sought protection from the federal courts. Their motion, filed today in Montana federal court, tells the courts that “President Trump ... is not above the law.” They show that under Article III of the United States Constitution, President Trump’s unlawful conduct is subject to review by the federal courts. And, they demonstrate that President Trump’s attempt to reapprove the Keystone XL Pipeline without compliance with the previous court rulings, and in disregard of this nation’s environmental laws, must be struck down as unconstitutional. 

The Indigenous Environmental Network and the North Coast Rivers Alliance have confidence that the federal courts — long the protectors of our civil liberties — will once again rise to the challenge and enforce the Constitution and the laws of this land, and restore respect for the law as our Founding Fathers intended.  


Established in 1990, the Indigenous Environmental Network was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues both in North America and throughout the planet. Indigenous Environmental Network’s Executive Director Tom B.K. Goldtooth has been at the forefront of Native and environmental leaders who have called upon President Trump to renounce the Keystone XL Pipeline.   

"President Trump is attempting to sidestep the law and we have no fear challenging him. The Keystone XL Pipeline would be a disaster for Indigenous communities along its route,” Mr. Goldtooth stated. "We are at a pivotal moment in human history in which we must deal with climate change or risk extinction. The tar sands crude oil that the Keystone XL Pipeline would transport is the dirtiest oil on the planet, and its extraction has already destroyed entire swaths of boreal forests and wetlands in Alberta. We need to keep our fossil fuels in the ground and stop the expansion of tar sands at its source. ” Mr. Goldtooth added. 

Established in 1990, The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Indigenous Environmental Network’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.