Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Environmentalists cheered a federal court order that blocks a Trump administration permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, pending an environmental review.

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

Trump, a Republican, said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce USA dependence on foreign oil.

The administration overturned a ruling by the previous Barack Obama administration in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds.

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In Thursday's ruling, Morris wrote that the State Department's analysis of potential environmental effects fell short of a "hard look" on the effects of current oil prices on the viability of Keystone, cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, cultural resources and 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.

But the Trump administration dismissed environmental objections as roadblocks and claimed that there were "numerous developments related to global action to address climate change" in the years since Obama-era rejection of the project.

"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.

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The pipeline would begin in Alberta and shuttle as much as 830,000 barrels a day of crude through a half dozen states to terminals on the Gulf Coast.

The US stretch of line that needs to be built would be 875 miles (1,450 km) long.

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

The court blocked any activity furthering the construction or operation until the U.S. State Department completes a supplement to a 2014 environmental impact statement that complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. He signed an executive order supporting its construction in March of past year.

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"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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