Judge Blocks Major Pipeline, Says US 'Discarded' Facts

Orders US to conduct more thorough study of Keystone's environmental impact
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 9, 2018 5:49 AM CST
Updated Nov 9, 2018 6:52 AM CST
A file photo of the Keystone Steele City pumping station, into which the planned Keystone XL pipeline is to connect to, in Steele City, Neb.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge in Montana has blocked construction of the $8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline after criticizing the Trump administration for not properly studying its environmental impact. US District Judge Brian Morris' order on Thursday came as Calgary-based TransCanada was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana, per the AP. Environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the US State Department in federal court in Great Falls. Morris ruled that the government's analysis didn't fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline's viability, or include updated modeling of potential oil spills.

“The Department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal,” Morris wrote, per the New York Times. The 1,184-mile pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta, Canada, and Montana to facilities in Nebraska, and from there it would go to the Gulf Coast. President Obama had rejected the pipeline, but President Trump reversed his decision, arguing that it was vital for economic growth. Green groups felt differently: "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," says an attorney for the Sierra Club. (Nebraska agreed to the pipeline, with a catch.)

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