Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Sci-tech | By Lila Blake

Court order blocks permit for Keystone XL pipeline pending environmental review

Court order blocks permit for Keystone XL pipeline pending environmental review

U.S. President Donald Trump, who approved a revived Keystone XL through an executive order in 2017, blasted the decision Friday.

The construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been stopped by a federal judge in Montana - at least until there's more environmental study on its impact.

Morris' order does not permanently extinguish hopes Keystone XL will go ahead, but it will require the administration to come up with a better explanation as to why it should proceed.

The pipeline would have added 830,000 barrels of daily shipping capacity - about 4.2 per cent of US oil demand - when it came into service, which was expected to happen in 2021. "Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities". "We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project", TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said.

In 2015, the Obama administration rejected construction of the pipeline, saying it would detract from America's global leadership on issues related to climate change.


"We have received the judge's ruling and continue to review it".

Morris' court order said the administration's use of a 2014 environmental review to justify a presidential permit for construction violated three federal laws - the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said the Trump administration's projections for the pipeline's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, potential for oil spills and impact on the local Native American community fell short, the Montana-based Great Falls Tribune reports.

Advocates have failed to stop the pipeline despite fighting TransCanada on state constitutional challenges, lawsuits against land condemnation and now the public service commission's decision, WOWT-TV reported.

The state department has now been ordered to do a more thorough review of the effect on issues like the climate.


Becky Mitchell, chairwoman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a plaintiff in the Montana legal action against Keystone XL, said her environmental organization is thrilled with the ruling.

The project has met sustained opposition from environmental advocacy groups, who argue the pipeline would be especially damaging to the climate because it would mean extracting thick, low-quality oil from Canada's oil sands, with tree-cutting and energy consumption in the process.

A shortage of export pipeline space to carry away growing oil production in Alberta has been blamed for recent steep discounts in prices for Canadian oil as compared to New York-traded benchmark oil.

"The most likely outcome is they'll take a two-track approach here and they will file an appeal up to the (San Francisco-based) Ninth Circuit, which has not been friendly ground for the Trump administration", Jauss said.

The company responded by seeking $15 billion in damages.


The case is Indigenous Environmental Network v. U.S., 17-cv-00029, U.S. District Court, District of Montana (Great Falls). He signed an executive order supporting its construction in March of past year.

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