Federal judge in Montana blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline

10 November, 2018, 09:00 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Indigenous and climate protesters have long been opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline

In a major victory for the planet and blow to the Trump administration's efforts to ramp up fossil fuel extraction and production in the face ofgrave climate consequences, a federal judge on Thursday halted all construction of TransCanada's 1,200-mile long Keystone XL pipeline and tossed out the White House'sfact-free approval of the project. Trump signed memoranda approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines early in his presidency in January 2017, promising the projects would provide jobs and stimulate the economy.

The company building the pipeline, TransCanada, said in a statement they are reviewing the ruling but they "remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project".

The judge ordered TransCanada, the company behind the project, to halt work on Keystone while the U.S. government conducts a more thorough review of its impact.

"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.

"This is a complete repudiation of the Trump administration's attempts to evade environmental laws and prioritize oil company profits over clean water and wildlife", Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in astatement.

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"An appeal of this order will likely go to the 9th Circuit [appellate court], which has not been favorable ground for the Trump administration", he said.

A spokesman for TransCanada said: "We have received the judge's ruling and continue to review it".

Energy producers in the northern nation already are struggling with a shortage of pipeline space that has hammered prices for their crude, sending its discount to USA benchmarks to the widest on record in recent weeks.

Morris wrote that the State Department had "simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change" from the Obama administration in its zeal to further Trump's goal of letting the pipeline move forward.

TransCanada said in a statement to BNN Bloomberg that the company is reviewing the US judge's ruling on Keystone XL. 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. There's simply no excuse for approving this awful project.

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He said it could take several months before the State Department is able to issue a new environmental impact statement, putting a timeline for a decision "well into 2019".

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 construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been stopped by a federal judge in Montana - at least until there's more environmental study on its impact.

"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 judge put the pipeline on hold until the State Department conducts another review of the possible environmental impact of the project.

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