Keystone XL Pipeline: US judge orders halt on construction

09 November, 2018, 23:05 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

A federal judge has brought a halt, at least temporarily, to the construction of the $8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline.

Judge Brian Morris, of the US District Court for the District of Montana, said construction could not go ahead until a more thorough review of the impact on the climate, cultural resources and wildlife was conducted.

The groups argued the U.S. State Department violated several acts in issuing a presidential permit for the pipeline without a proper environmental assessment of the changed route.

"We keep killing it, and it keeps coming back from the dead", Dallas Goldtooth from the Keep It In The Ground campaign for the Indigenous Environmental Network said, as cited by CBC News.

The 1,179-mile Keystone XL Pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta, Canada, and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana over 875 miles to existing pipeline facilities in Nebraska, then on to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.

"It also used "outdated information" about the impact of potential oil spills on endangered species, he said, rather than "'the best scientific and commercial data available'".

The ruling also blamed President Donald Trump's administration, several times, for failing to explain why it had reversed a previous decision made by the Obama administration that cited climate change as a reason for rejecting the project, The Hill reported on November 8. "The courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists, and Native communities". -Canada border. TransCanada joined the litigation to defend the permit approval.

"The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can't ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities", Doug Hayes, a lawyer for the Sierra Club environmental group, said in a statement as cited by CNBC.

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It's meant to be an extension of TransCanada's existing Keystone Pipeline, which was completed in 2013.

Energy producers in Canada already are struggling with a shortage of pipeline space that has hammered prices for their crude, sending its discount to USA benchmarks to the widest on record in recent weeks.

US President Donald Trump had granted a permit for the pipeline.

Morris' ruling came as Canadian energy company TransCanada began delivering pipe to Montana in anticipation of construction in 2019. The U.S. Obama said, was now a "global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change".

The analysis of a cross-border project like this is done by the State Department.

Morris ruled the Trump administration "jumped the gun" by pushing forward with the pipeline despite concerns over damage to native American heritage and the resulting release of greenhouse gases. He ordered the department to complete a full review.

"An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, any more than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate".

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