Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt

10 November, 2018, 02:47 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • The pipeline would transport up to barrels of crude a day from Alberta Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska

A federal judge has blocked construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Morris particularly criticized the Trump administration for ignoring the recognized effects of the pipeline on climate change.

Judge Morris is the latest jurist to block Mr. Trump's initiatives under administrative-law rule, claiming that his officials have cut corners in administrative processes to make political decisions.

In 2008, the U.S. State Department issued a presidential permit for the pipeline and TransCanada filed paperwork to expand the project.

The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would carry as much as 830,000 barrels of crude per day from Hardisty, Alta., to Steel City, Neb., and on through a half dozen states to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

What is the Keystone XL Pipeline?

The ruling in Montana against Keystone XL is "eerily similar" to the Federal Court of Appeals ruling against the Trans Mountain pipeline, according to Chris Bloomer, Canadian Energy Pipelines Association president and CEO.

TransCanada Corp. said it remains committed to its long-delayed, often-challenged $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline Friday even after a USA federal judge blocked the project.

Judge Brian Morris cited a finding in a previous case that "an agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, anymore than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate". It has become the focal point of a decade-long dispute that pits Democrats, environmental groups and Native American tribes who warn of pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions against business groups and Republicans who cheer the project's jobs and potential energy production.


NPR reached out to TransCanada early Friday for comment on the ruling but did not hear back by the time of publishing.

Trump, a Republican, said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce USA dependence on foreign oil.

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

"The department's 2017 conclusory analysis that climate-related impacts from Keystone subsequently would prove inconsequential and its corresponding reliance on this conclusion as a centerpiece of its policy change required the department to provide a 'reasoned explanation, '" Judge Morris said.

The proposed US portion of the pipeline would run about 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Construction on the USA section was due to begin next year. The Obama administration stalled the project, only for Trump to revive it.

One of the plaintiffs, the Sierra Club, welcomed the judge's decision.

Stephan Volker, who represented the Indigenous Environmental Network called the order a win.

"We sleep well tonight and tomorrow we continue to keep our guard up, working stronger as good relatives until Keystone XL vanishes, and it will", said Faith Spotted Eagle, member of the Yankton Sioux Nation and Brave Heart Society.

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