Another Keystone XL setback; environmental review ordered

09 November, 2018, 17:12 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

The $8 billion pipeline would convey up to 830,000 barrels crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana to facilities in Nebraska and Oklahoma.

He noted that the State Department denied the permit in 2015, relying on climate change information under the Obama administration, which the Trump administration simply dismissed.

Work can not proceed until the State Department completes a supplement to the environmental impact statement that complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, Morris ruled. But groups that have been seeking to block the $8bn (£6bn) project are celebrating.

Morris was appointed by President Barack Obama.

Neither TransCanada nor the State Department could immediately be reached for comment on the ruling. "Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities".

USA benchmark WTI little changed after the decision, trading down 0.1 percent.


Although the decision does not permanently halt the pipeline's construction, it nevertheless comes as TransCanada, the Canadian company that owns Keystone, is preparing to start construction in Montana, shipping pipe to various locations throughout the state, the Great Falls Tribune reports. Both pipelines have drawn significant public backlash, with activists arguing that the oil spills could pollute downstream water sources.

The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before denying the permit in 2015 was ignored when the department turned around past year and approved it, the judge argued.

Morris said, however, that there have indeed been changes since the 2014 assessment and that the Trump administration failed to consider them. Those could alter the overall impact of Keystone XL and should have been considered by the government. It "ignored its duty to take a "hard look" at these two connected actions". "The Department appears to have jumped the gun".

"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", Morris wrote.

- The department's analysis that "climate-related impacts" from Keystone "would prove inconsequential" needed a "reasoned explanation". "That's why we keep winning in the court".

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