TransCanada CEO Russ Girling. Image courtesy of TransCanada/Youtube.

TransCanada said Thursday it intends to sue the U.S. government in response to President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline last year, claiming that the president “exceeded” his constitutional authority.

The Calgary-based company has filed a notice of intent to initiate a claim under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in response to the U.S. administration’s denial of a presidential permit for the pipeline.

The company claims that the denial was “arbitrary and unjustified.”

Through the NAFTA claim, TransCanada is seeking to recover more than $15 billion in costs and damages it said it has suffered as a result of the rejection.

The project was struck down despite a 2014 U.S. State Department assessment that determined the 830,000 barrel per day pipeline would have a limited environmental impact.

“The NAFTA claim asserts that TransCanada had every reason to expect its application would be granted as the application met the same criteria the U.S. State Department applied when approving applications to construct other similar cross-border pipelines – including the existing Keystone pipeline,” the company said.

Just days before the pipeline was rejected, TransCanada had asked the State Department to pause its review of the project as the company dealt with legal battles over the pipeline’s route in Nebraska.

The company withdrew its Nebraska route application in late November, but said it had not ruled out reapplying for a route.

TransCanada has also filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Federal Court in Houston, Texas, claiming that Obama’s decision to stop the Keystone XL “exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution.”

Obama vetoed a bill last February that would have approved the $8 billion project.

“TransCanada asserts the Administration’s action was contrary to Congress’ power under the U.S. Constitution to regulate interstate and international commerce,” the company said.

The White House said in November that Obama decided to reject the pipeline after the U.S. State Department concluded the project would not “serve the national interest.”

As a result of the permit denial, TransCanada said that is reviewing the $3.1 billion, or C$4.3 billion, carrying value invested in the project and related assets.

The company expects to record an estimated $1.77 billion to $2.06 billion after-tax write-down in its fourth quarter results.

“The non-cash charge will reflect anticipated asset recoveries as well as the recognition of certain income tax benefits and will not impact the company’s ‘A’ grade credit ratings,” TransCanada said.

The company added that additional tax benefits of up to $284 million, or C$400 million, may be realized in the future under certain circumstances.

TransCanada also intends to stop capitalizing interest on the project effective as of November 6, 2015, the date of the permit denial.


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