Federal judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline


A federal judge temporarily blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, ruling late Thursday that the Trump administration had failed to justify its decision granting a permit for the 1,200-mile long project created to connect Canada's tar sands crude with refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The ruling in Montana against Keystone XL is "eerily similar" to the Federal Court of Appeals ruling against the Trans Mountain pipeline, according to Chris Bloomer, Canadian Energy Pipelines Association president and CEO.

Judge Morris is the latest jurist to block Mr. Trump's initiatives under administrative-law rule, claiming that his officials have cut corners in administrative processes to make political decisions.

The judge's order was handed down as Calgary-based TransCanada was preparing to begin building the pipeline in northern Montana.

Former President Barack Obama rejected the pipeline in 2015 as a result, saying the project "would not serve the national interests of the United States", but President Donald Trump reversed that decision in January 2017.

"It's clear that this decision tonight will delay the pipeline significantly", Hayes told the Post.

McCuaig-Boyd said the Alberta government had spoken to TransCanada officials, and described the pipeline as critical for the province, country and energy sector.

President Donald Trump called the ruling "a disgrace" on Friday.

The administration is appealing numerous rulings and may appeal Thursday's decision as well. TransCanada had no immediate comment.

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The massive project remains one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in modern American history.

A federal judge blocked construction on the Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday.

If constructed, the Keystone XL Pipeline would stretch from Hardisty, Alberta, to Nebraska, where it would connect to an existing pipeline going to the Gulf Coast. In the US, the pipeline would stretch 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, with the rest continuing into Canada.

He said the government's analysis did not 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.

Construction on the U.S. section was due to begin next year.

USA benchmark WTI little changed after the decision, trading down 0.1 percent. There's simply no excuse for approving this awful project. "Simultaneously, the State Department will start work on a revised environmental analysis". Morris said that review was inadequate. "Our government has always supported the Keystone XL project, and we are disappointed by this decision". It "ignored its duty to take a "hard look" at these two connected actions". He ordered the department to complete a full review. "The Department appears to have jumped the gun".

Judge Brian Morris cited a finding in a previous case that "an agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, anymore than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate".

Morris' order does not permanently extinguish hopes Keystone XL will go ahead, but it will require the administration to come up with a better explanation as to why it should proceed. It did not provide one. "That's why we keep winning in the court".