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Trump Issues New Keystone Permit in Defiance of Montana Court Ruling

Two major oil pipelines between Canada and the United States are running into renewed legal hurdles, with Donald Trump making what appears to be a futile bid to reissue a presidential permit for the Keystone XL project and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer halting construction on an underwater tunnel for the Line 5 line.

Trump revoked, then replaced his original Keystone permit last week, after federal District Court Judge Brian Morris invalidated it in November, halting construction and triggering a new State Department review of the intensely controversial project. The new permit brought mockery from organizations that have been fighting the project for years and saw the rulings last year as a stunning victory, Common Dreams reports.

“Trump issuing another #KeystoneXL permit to try to get around a court order quashing his first one is like a child going to the second parent when their first parent says no to more ice cream,” tweeted David Turnbull, strategic communications director at Oil Change International.”

“Trump couldn’t get KXL built with his first executive order so now he’s desperately trying to push it forward with another one,” agreed 350.org Strategy and Communications Director Jamie Henn. “He can huff and puff all he wants: this pipeline isn’t getting built.”

“As farmers are recovering from historic loss due to flooding, @realDonaldTrump response is to issue another Executive Order ‘approving’ KXL pipeline,” added Bold Alliance founder Jane Fleming Kleeb. “He did this two years ago and we beat him in court. We will beat him in court and in the corn fields again. #NoKXL”

In Michigan, Whitmer ordered state agencies to stop work on a tunnel to encase the Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac, just minutes after a legal opinion from Attorney General Dana Nessel declared the formation of a state agency to oversee the project unconstitutional.

“I agree with the conclusion reached by Attorney General Nessel,” Whitmer said. “The Great Lakes are our most precious resource in Michigan, and because of their significance, I’ve instructed state departments and agencies to halt any actions in furtherance of this law.”

Bridge Michigan said the decision puts Whitmer and Nessel on a “collision course” with state Republicans on an issue that could land in court.

“An AG opinion is exactly that, an opinion. It’s not binding. It’s not final. And it’s certainly not without cause to challenge,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). “The Senate will pursue its options in order to advance the very important work and purpose of the energy tunnel. This is the fastest, safest, and most economical long-term solution for Michigan. It’s very important to our economy.”

But Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter applauded the move.

“Governor Whitmer’s leadership today…should be immediately followed by implementing a process to decommission Line 5,” said chapter chair Anne Woiwode. “Every day these oil pipelines remain in the Mackinac Straits is a day when Michigan’s future can be drowned in a sea of oil.”