United States court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

James Marshall
November 9, 2018

TransCanada's $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline project has suffered another setback after a USA federal judge blocked its construction to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact.

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. He said it would create jobs and spur development of infrastructure.

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.

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.

The permit approval followed years of intense debate over the pipeline amid steadfast opposition from environmental groups. "The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal".

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.

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

TransCanada, which had been planning the pipeline for much of this decade, had planned to begin construction next year. Construction of the USA leg had been scheduled to begin next year.

Environmental and indigenous groups sued TransCanada and the State Department in March to halt the project.

Other plaintiffs in the suit included The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Bold Nebraska. "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".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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