Keystone XL Pipeline Construction Blocked By U.S. Judge

10 November, 2018, 09:01 | Author: Sidney Guerrero
  • 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.

TransCanada says it remains committed to the project despite the Montana judge's ruling that it must pass a further environmental review.

In doing so the administration overturned a ruling by then president Barack Obama in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds, in particular the USA contribution to climate change.

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

"An agency can not simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past", Judge Morris said in his ruling.

Trump suggested that the government likely would appeal the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Jauss said a lengthy appellate process could delay TransCanada's goal of beginning construction next year. 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 pipeline would link up with an existing infrastructure in Nebraska, allowing 800,000 barrels of petroleum to flow to the Gulf refineries.

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The Trudeau government says it's disappointed that a US judge has halted progress on building the $10-billion Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

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".

Demonstrators against the Keystone XL pipeline march in Lincoln, Nebraska, in August 2017. The government and TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, are now legally barred from continuing construction on the pipeline until the Trump administration completes a supplemental document justifying the pipeline that satisfies the legal requirements. The announcement followed an environmental impact review from the U.S. State Department, which concluded the pipeline's impact on the environment would be "negligible to moderate".

TransCanada Corp's almost 1,200-mile pipeline has become one of the major battlegrounds in the climate change debate and, if completed, would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels per day from Canada's tar sands pits to Gulf Coast refineries in the US.

"It was a political decision made by a judge".

In 2015, the Obama administration rejected construction of the pipeline, saying it would detract from America's global leadership on issues related to climate change.

Jackie Prange, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the ruling a "huge win" not just for the environmental activists and tribal groups who have been fighting the pipeline, but for "anyone who cares about the rule of law and holding this administration to the facts".

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