U.S. judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline
U.S. judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline
Montana Federal Judge Halts Keystone XL Pipeline
09 November, 2018, 23:09
TransCanada Corp.'s long-troubled Keystone XL oil pipeline project hit another roadblock as a U.S. District Court in Montana ruled it must wait for a further environmental review.
Judge Brian Morris granted an injunction to stop construction of the 1,900-kilometre pipeline, ruling that the U.S. State Department was obligated to "analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision" to issue a permit for the pipeline past year.
Indigenous and environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the U.S. Department of State after Nebraska authorities approved an alternative route to the one TransCanada had proposed through the state.
In August, Morris ruled that the State Department was obligated to "analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision" to issue a permit for the pipeline past year.
The lawsuit prompting Thursday's order was brought by a collection of opponents, including the indigenous Environmental Network and the Northern Plains Resource Council, a conservation coalition based in Montana.
The Keystone XL pipeline would deliver crude oil from Canada and other parts of the U.S.to refineries in the Gulf Coast, covering more than 1,200 miles through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
Judge Morris also said State didn't properly justify approving the pipeline in 2017 under Mr. Trump after rejecting it in 2015 under Mr. Obama.
"It's clear that this decision tonight will delay the pipeline significantly", said Hayes, who noted that a proper environmental impact statement of this scope usually takes about a year to complete.
The pipeline construction sparked months of protests by Native Americans and activist groups, who say the project could pollute local water supplies.
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Western Canadian Select crude oil is selling at about $18 a barrel as its discount to US benchmark West Texas Intermediate as a lack of pipeline capacity bottlenecks production in Alberta. "The courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists, and Native communities".
The massive project remains one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in modern American history.
TransCanada, which had been planning the pipeline for much of this decade, had planned to begin construction next year.
US benchmark WTI little changed after the decision, trading down 0.1 percent.
Neither TransCanada nor the State Department could immediately be reached for comment on the ruling.
But the Trump administration dismissed environmental objections as roadblocks and claimed that there were "numerous developments related to global action to address climate change" in the years since Obama-era rejection of the project. He ordered the department to complete a full review.
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". "That's why we keep winning in the court".
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