US judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline

Mindy Sparks
November 9, 2018

"The Court enjoins Federal Defendants and TransCanada from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities", the court document reads, "until the Department has completed a supplement to the 2014 SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) that complies with the requirements of NEPA and the APA".

But it has been the subject of protests for more than a decade, both from environmentalists and Native American groups, who say it will cut through their sovereign lands.

He also accused the state department of having "discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal".

The permit approval followed years of intense debate over the pipeline amid steadfast opposition from environmental groups.

Morris said in his decision Thursday the government's analysis didn't fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline's viability or include updated modelling of potential oil spills.

Environmentalists called the ruling a "major setback" for the pipeline project.

The administration overturned a ruling by the previous Barack Obama administration in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds.

"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 pipeline was first proposed in 2o08.

Four days after Trump was sworn into office, he invited TransCanada to resubmit its permit application.

The privately financed pipeline is projected to stretch 1,179-miles (1,897km) from the oil sands of Canada's Alberta province, through Montana and South Dakota, to rejoin an existing pipeline to Texas.

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

Construction on the United States section was due to begin next year. "Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities".

Neither TransCanada nor the State Department could immediately be reached for comment on the ruling.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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