U.S. judge halts construction of Keystone XL pipeline

U.S. judge halts construction of Keystone XL pipeline

U.S. judge halts construction of Keystone XL pipeline

A Montana district court judge has ordered the suspension of construction work on the Keystone XL pipeline on the grounds that violations were made in the government's environmental review.

Morris particularly criticized the Trump administration for ignoring the recognized effects of the pipeline on climate change.

Morris wrote in his ruling that a U.S. State Department environmental analysis "fell short of a "hard look" at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources.

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.

A federal judge blocked construction on the Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday. Trump signed memoranda approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines early in his presidency in January 2017, promising the projects would provide jobs and stimulate the economy.

A federal judge temporarily blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, ruling late Thursday that the Trump administration had failed to justify its decision granting a permit for the 1,200-mile long project created to connect Canada's tar sands crude with refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

"An agency can not simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past", Morris wrote Thursday.

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".

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Environmental groups who oppose the pipeline and filed the lawsuit say the ruling is a victory for advocates and a significant setback for the pipeline.

Reacting to the news on Friday, President Donald Trump called the ruling a "political" decision that was a "disgrace". "We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project".

"It also used "outdated information" about the impact of potential oil spills on endangered species, he said, rather than "'the best scientific and commercial data available'".

"The Department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal", Morris wrote. At that time, the Department "relied heavily on the United States's role in climate leadership". In the USA, the pipeline would stretch 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, with the rest continuing into Canada.

The administration can appeal against the decision. He signed an executive order supporting its construction in March of previous year.

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.

"We sleep well tonight and tomorrow we continue to keep our guard up, working stronger as good relatives until Keystone XL vanishes, and it will", said Faith Spotted Eagle, member of the Yankton Sioux Nation and Brave Heart Society.

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