Federal judge halts Keystone XL pipeline construction

Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls agreed with the groups' argument that a 2014 environmental impact assessment fell short of the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory standards. But groups that have been seeking to block the $8bn (£6bn) project are celebrating.

The state department has now been ordered to do a more thorough review of the affect on issues like the climate.

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.

"It's clear that this decision tonight will delay the pipeline significantly", said Hayes, who noted that a proper environmental impact statement of this scope usually takes about a year to complete.

Becky Mitchell, chairwoman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a plaintiff in the case, said that the organization is thrilled with the ruling. "Despite the best efforts of wealthy, multinational corporations and the powerful politicians who cynically do their bidding, we see that everyday people can still band together and successfully defend their rights". "Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities".

Judge Morris also said State didn't properly justify approving the pipeline in 2017 under Mr. Trump after rejecting it in 2015 under Mr. Obama.

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

"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.

The US$8-billion project would help carry 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Hardisty, about 200 kilometres east of Red Deer, to Steele City, Neb., where it could then move on to refineries in the central USA and Gulf Coast.

About 250 miles of pipeline would be buried across six counties in Montana.

NPR reached out to TransCanada early Friday for comment on the ruling but did not hear back by the time of publishing.

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

Morris' ruling came as Canadian energy company TransCanada began delivering pipe to Montana in anticipation of construction in 2019.

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