Attorney General Says Senator Tester Didn’t Side With Montana Over Keystone XL Pipeline Cancellation
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen told KGVO News that he has been in communication with many western states regarding the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
“We are leading a coalition of 14 states,” Knudsen said. “The Montana Attorney General's office is taking the lead on this. We sent a very sharp letter to President Biden objecting to his unilateral first day decision to revoke that permit without any consultation, not a phone call, not a letter, and not talking to anybody with boots on the ground here. He just did it.”
Knudsen outlined the economic devastation that the pipeline cancellation will cause in Montana.
“We're talking about, conservatively, $60 million in annual tax revenue to the state of Montana that this project was going to bring,” Knudsen said. “Five of the six counties this project was going to run through are already designated as high poverty counties. These counties were salivating over the possibility of this property tax revenue coming in, and with a stroke of a pen, that's gone.”
Knudsen did not reveal all of his plans, but one option is a class action lawsuit against the federal government.
“You can sue the federal government under the under the US Constitution under a variety of possible avenues,” Knudsen said. “But ultimately, I think that's our real remedy here. We would have to bring suit in a federal district court, and you'd have to assume that's probably going to get appealed up depending on outcomes.”
Knudsen sees Senator Jon Tester as having betrayed rural Montana with his vote to kill the pipeline.
I think Senator Tester is being a little Machiavellian here,” Knudsen said. “He's serving his own interest. He voted for it, but then he voted against it. He said he didn't vote against it. Well, yeah, he did. He voted to close the debate on it and to keep that debate off the senate floor. He effectively voted with President Biden, which is not surprising here. He didn't side with Montanans.”
Knudsen said he will confer with the fellow Attorneys General before deciding on a concrete course of action.