Federal judge blocks Keystone Pipeline XL in major blow to Trump administration

09 November, 2018, 23:07 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • The pipeline would transport up to barrels of crude a day from Alberta Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska

TransCanada Corp's almost 1,200-mile pipeline has become one of the major battlegrounds in the climate change debate and, if completed, would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels per day from Canada's tar sands pits to Gulf Coast refineries in the US.

The ruling also blamed President Donald Trump's administration, several times, for failing to explain why it had reversed a previous decision made by the Obama administration that cited climate change as a reason for rejecting the project, The Hill reported on November 8.

Judge Brian Morris' 54-page order, issued late Thursday, overturns the Trump administrations's approval a year ago of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline and at least temporarily prevents it from being built.

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.

"This is a significant setback for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline project and big win for Indigenous defenders, the environment, and for the thousands of people who have been fighting this pipeline for almost a decade".

"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", Hayes said.

After years of legal wrangling, Obama rejected a permit for the pipeline in 2015.

Morris was appointed in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama, who had refused to grant a cross-border permit for the global project.

In a 54-page order issued late Thursday, Judge Morris alleges the US Department of State committed multiple violations when it approved the construction of the $8 billion, 1,900-kilometer pipeline in 2017.

Residents flee as Camp Fire tears through California towns
When the order came to evacuate , it was like the entire town of 27,000 residents made a decision to leave at once, they said. The fire then pushed southward, jumped the wide U.S. 101 freeway before dawn Friday and pushed into the Santa Monica range.

Also on Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that President Trump can not immediately end the program, DACA, that shields from deportation young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. "As the court has made clear yet again, the Trump administration's flawed and risky proposal should be shelved forever".

The fight over the project has spanned several presidencies and involved standoffs between protesters and law enforcement.

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

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.

Then came policy shifts in the Trump administration.

Construction on the United States section was due to begin next year.

"The department's 2017 conclusory analysis that climate-related impacts from Keystone subsequently would prove inconsequential and its corresponding reliance on this conclusion as a centerpiece of its policy change required the department to provide a 'reasoned explanation, '" Judge Morris said.

- The department "acted on incomplete information regarding" the potential damage to cultural resources in Indian territory along the route.

"An agency can not simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past", Judge Morris said in his ruling.

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