Judge Puts Keystone XL Pipeline On Hold Pending Further Environmental Study

The pipeline would transport up to barrels of crude a day from Alberta Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska

The pipeline would transport up to barrels of crude a day from Alberta Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska

A US district judge has issued an order blocking construction of the controversial transnational Keystone XL Pipeline until the State Department conducts further study of its impact on the environment.

The ruling by Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups.

Morris previously ruled against the State Department in August, saying it was obligated to "analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision".

Judge Brian Morris' 54-page order, issued late Thursday, overturns the Trump administrations's approval a year ago of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline and at least temporarily prevents it from being built.

"This is a significant setback for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline project and big win for Indigenous defenders, the environment, and for the thousands of people who have been fighting this pipeline for almost a decade".

The proposed Keystone XL 1,179-mile pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Canadian province of Alberta to the U.S. state of Nebraska and down to oil refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The judge also argued that the State Department failed to properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from the pipeline and the risk of oil spills.

The State Department initially denied the pipeline a permit in 2015, under the Obama administration.

"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", Hayes said.




President Donald Trump called the ruling "a disgrace" on Friday.

The administration is appealing numerous rulings and may appeal Thursday's decision as well.

The massive project remains one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in modern American history.

"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", Keever continued.

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

Thus, the court supported claims of various environmental groups and native American tribes that protested against the project, which traverses sacred tribal lands and could pollute local waters.

USA benchmark WTI little changed after the decision, trading down 0.1 percent.

"The department failed to make a fact-based explanation for its course reversal, "let alone a reasoned explanation.'An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, any more than it can ignore inconvenient facts'" in the present", he wrote, quoting judicial precedents. "It's not over for us, we're just going to keep on going ahead".

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