Federal judge blocks construction of Keystone pipeline

Indigenous and climate protesters have long been opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline

Indigenous and climate protesters have long been opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline

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

The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before denying the permit in 2015 was ignored when the department turned around past year and approved it, the judge argued.

Although the decision does not permanently halt the pipeline's construction, it nevertheless comes as TransCanada, the Canadian company that owns Keystone, is preparing to start construction in Montana, shipping pipe to various locations throughout the state, the Great Falls Tribune reports. The Obama-appointed judge specifically called out State's disregarding the climate change arguments against the pipeline it had made under Mr. Obama.

Morris says the government's analysis didn't fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline's viability or include updated modeling of potential oil spills.

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.

The reversal required a "reasoned explanation" but instead the State Department discarded prior "factual findings", he said.

If built, it would transport around 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana to facilities near Steele City, Neb.

From there it would flow to Oklahoma and on to the Texas Gulf coast.

The latest ruling follows the court's previous decision in August to require the State Department to also conduct a supplemental environmental impact statement on a new route through Nebraska.

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

One of those litigants in this case, the Sierra Club, cheered the decision on substantive grounds.

No immediate impact in oil markets is seen, as the pipeline isn't scheduled to come online for years regardless of the ruling.

"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", Mr Hayes added.

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