US judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline, orders environmental review

US judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline, orders environmental review

US judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline, orders environmental review

A federal judge has blocked construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The judge added that the Trump administration had not adequately accounted for potential declines in oil prices, which have been depressed since the crash of 2014, and which would have a major effect on the long-term viability of such a project.

Under President Trump, the State Department wrote "there have been numerous developments related to global action to address climate change, including announcements by many countries of their plans to do so" since the Obama administration's decision two years earlier.

Environmentalists and tribal groups cheered the ruling by a US district judge in Montana, while President Donald Trump called it "a political decision" and "a disgrace".

If constructed, the Keystone XL Pipeline would stretch from Hardisty, Alberta, to Nebraska, where it would connect to an existing pipeline going to the Gulf Coast.

It's meant to be an extension of TransCanada's existing Keystone Pipeline, which was completed in 2013.

A federal judge in Montana halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Thursday on the grounds that the USA government did not complete a full analysis of the environmental impact of the TransCanada project.

"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.

In August, Morris ruled that the State Department was obligated to "analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision" to issue a permit for the pipeline past year.

"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", said the Sierra Club, one of the environmental groups involved in the lawsuit.

US President Donald Trump had granted a permit for the pipeline. "We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project", TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said.

Trump could also either file an appeal or direct the State Department to conduct a new study, said Zachary Rogers, analyst at Wood Mackenzie.

Environmentalists and indigenous groups have argued the project would harm endangered species and result in air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and potential oil spills, including negative environmental impacts on tribal land. In the US, the pipeline would stretch 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, with the rest continuing into Canada. At that time, the Department "relied heavily on the United States's role in climate leadership".

TransCanada, which had been planning the pipeline for much of this decade, had planned to begin construction next year. "It was a political decision made by a judge".

"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. The Trump administration can appeal to a higher court.

Related news