U.S. court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Montana Federal Judge Halts Keystone XL Pipeline

Judge Brian Morris noted in his ruling that the law requires the Trump administration to "provide a "reasoned explanation" for claiming in its analysis that despite the Obama administration's previous findings, "climate-related impacts from Keystone. would prove inconsequential".

The pipeline would have added 830,000 barrels of daily shipping capacity - about 4.2 percent of USA oil demand - when it came into service, which was expected to happen in 2021.

A federal judge blocked construction on the Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday.

In March 2017, the State Department issued a permit for TransCanada to construct the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline immediately after Trump approved the pipeline deal.

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But a federal judge in Montana ruled Thursday that the Trump administration's reversal ignored information about the pipeline's environmental impact to support reversing the Obama administration's decision.

"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", he continued.

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. Native American groups in Montana and elsewhere fought the Keystone project as well, saying its route failed to adhere to historical treaty boundaries and would impinge on their water systems and sacred lands. Also on Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that President Trump can not immediately end the program, DACA, that shields from deportation young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. "We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project". At that time, the Department "relied heavily on the United States's role in climate leadership".

TransCanada had recently announced plans to start construction next year, after a State Department review ordered by Morris concluded that major environmental damage from a leak is unlikely and could quickly be mitigated.

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In Thursday's ruling, Morris wrote that the State Department's analysis of potential environmental effects fell short of a "hard look" on the effects of current oil prices on the viability of Keystone, cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, cultural resources and potential oil spills. In the US, the pipeline would stretch 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, with the rest continuing into Canada.

In 2015, on the eve of the global climate talks in Paris, the Obama administration appeared to bring an end to the seven-year-long saga when it announced it was halting construction of the pipeline, arguing that approval would compromise the country's effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. "It was a political decision made by a judge". "It's not over for us, we're just going to keep on going ahead".

"The most likely outcome is they'll take a two-track approach here and they will file an appeal up to the (San Francisco-based) Ninth Circuit, which has not been friendly ground for the Trump administration", Jauss said.

"This is a win for Lakota, the Oceti Sakowin and other Tribal Nations, for the water, and for the sacredness of Mother Earth", Tom Goldtooth, executive director for the Indigenous Environmental Network, said in astatement.

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