Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

A ruling issued by a federal judge in Montana late Thursday has halted construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris is seen as a victory for environmental groups and a blow to President Donald Trump, who reversed former President Barack Obama’s decision to block the project.

Morris found the Trump administration’s reliance on an environmental review from 2014 to justify issuing a permit for construction of the pipeline violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

In his ruling, Morris claimed the Trump administration “simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.”

The federal government and TransCanada Corp. (TRP) have subsequently been ordered to stop construction on the pipeline until the 2014 review is supplemented to comply with the laws.

Morris said the State Department must also evaluate whether extraordinary changes in the oil markets have impacted the pipeline’s viability.

The ruling came in a case filed by several environmental groups shortly after Trump approved the project in March of 2017.

“Today’s ruling makes it clear once and for all that it’s time for TransCanada to give up on their Keystone XL pipe dream,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes.

He added, “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.”

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