Monday, 19 November, 2018

Federal Judge Blocks Construction of Keystone XL Pipeline

Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline Federal judge halts Keystone XL pipeline construction
Sandy Nunez | 09 November, 2018, 13:56

The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before denying the permit in 2015 was ignored when the department turned around previous year and approved it, the judge argued.

US District Judge Brian Morris found that the US government's use of a 2014 environmental review to justify issuing a presidential permit for construction of the cross-border pipeline violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, according to the court order issued Thursday.

In August, Judge Morris ruled that the State Department must supplement a more thorough study of potential environmental effects of the pipeline. "The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal".

However, President Donald Trump reversed the decision shortly after taking office, saying it would bring thousands of jobs.

Moss ruled that a 2014 environmental review the Trump administration relied on to approve the project failed to fully take into account greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects from the pipeline oil, ignored potential Native American resources that could be affected by the pipeline, lacked updated information on the risk of oil spills and failed to consider the effect of the price of oil on the current viability of the pipeline. "Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities".

"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.

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The proposed 1,897-kilometre pipeline would carry crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Steel City, Neb.

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

The pipeline was being prepared by TransCanada.

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.

Construction on the U.S. section was due to begin next year.

"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", Mr Hayes added.