Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Clark Diaz
November 10, 2018

Judge Morris is the latest jurist to block Mr. Trump's initiatives under administrative-law rule, claiming that his officials have cut corners in administrative processes to make political decisions.

The case is Indigenous Environmental Network v. U.S., 17-cv-00029, U.S. District Court, District of Montana (Great Falls).

The 1,179-mile Keystone XL Pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta, Canada, and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana over 875 miles to existing pipeline facilities in Nebraska, then on to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.

A federal judge blocked construction on the Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday.

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Four days after Trump was sworn into office, he invited TransCanada to resubmit its permit application.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline earlier in 2017U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday blasted a federal judge's decision to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry heavy crude oil from Canada to the United States, a project that has been in development for a decade.

"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.

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". "We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project", the company said in an emailed statement.

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According to a report in The Hill, Judge Morris said the State Department didn't properly take into account the effects of global warming, the risk of oil spills and worldwide oil prices. He also accused the State Department of using "outdated information" about potential environmental impacts instead of "the best scientific and commercial data available". The State Department "simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal".

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

As The Post's Steven Mufson reported, activists say the pipeline would be especially damaging to the climate because it would mean extracting thick, low-quality oil from Canada's oil sands, with lots of tree-cutting and energy consumption in the process which would increase greenhouse gas-emissions. "Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities". 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.

Other plaintiffs in the suit included The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Bold Nebraska. "That's why we keep winning in the court".

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