Judge Brian Morris blocks Keystone pipeline

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 9, 2018

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

The ruling on Thursday by Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups.

Moss ruled that a 2014 environmental review the Trump administration relied on to approve the project failed to fully take into account greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects from the pipeline oil, ignored potential Native American resources that could be affected by the pipeline, lacked updated information on the risk of oil spills and failed to consider the effect of the price of oil on the current viability of the pipeline.

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.

The state department has now been ordered to do a more thorough review of the affect on issues like the climate.

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

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

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

TransCanada, which had been planning the pipeline for much of this decade, had planned to begin construction next year.

"The Court enjoins Federal Defendants and TransCanada from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities", the court document reads, "until the Department has completed a supplement to the 2014 SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) that complies with the requirements of NEPA and the APA".

Doug Hayes, a lawyer for the Sierra Club environmental group, said the ruling made clear it was it was time to give up on the "Keystone XL pipe dream".

Construction on the USA section was due to begin next year.

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