USA court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

10 November, 2018, 01:40 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

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. It basically ordered a do-over.

"Rejecting the destructive Keystone XL pipeline is a victory for the grassroots activists who have worked against the Keystone XL pipeline for the past decade".

Morris ruled the Trump administration "jumped the gun" by pushing forward with the pipeline despite concerns over damage to native American heritage and the resulting release of greenhouse gases.

He added: "The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal".

Tom Goldtooth, executive director for the Indigenous Environmental Network said the ruling was a win for tribes, water "and for the sacredness of Mother Earth". "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".

Morris, a former clerk to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama.

According to the media outlet, the court decision requiring further environmental analysis once again throws into doubt the future of the project.

US President Donald Trump had granted a permit for the pipeline.

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An appeal of the decision is highly likely, as the legal back-and-forth looks set to continue in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Keystone XL pipeline permit decision was largely in the hands of the State Department, by virtue of its authority to issue "presidential permits" for cross-border infrastructure projects. It has become one of the most controversial oil projects in North America, but it is also one of the most important for Canadian crude oil producers hit by a significant pipeline capacity shortage.

The 1,900-kilometer-long pipeline is created to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of tar sand oil from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, where it would then enter existing pipelines to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

The US stretch of line that needs to be built would be 875 miles (1,450 km) long. Environmentalists and some Native American groups sued to stop the project, citing property rights and potential oil spills.

Morris' ruling came as Canadian energy company TransCanada began delivering pipe to Montana in anticipation of construction in 2019. The U.S. Obama said, was now a "global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change". There's simply no excuse for approving this awful project. Morris said that review was inadequate.

It is another major hurdle for Alberta pipelines. Those could alter the overall impact of Keystone XL and should have been considered by the government.

Neither TransCanada nor the State Department could immediately be reached for comment on the ruling. He ordered the department to complete a full review. "The Department appears to have jumped the gun".

"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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