Science

Federal judge BLOCKS Keystone XL pipeline over global warming and Indian tribes

Federal judge BLOCKS Keystone XL pipeline over global warming and Indian tribes”

A federal judge in Montana halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Thursday on the grounds that the USA government did not complete a full analysis of the environmental impact of the TransCanada project.

Morris was appointed by President Barack Obama.

One of the plaintiffs, the Sierra Club, welcomed the judge's decision. The lawsuit prompting Thursday's order was brought by a collection of opponents, including the indigenous Environmental Network and the Northern Plains Resource Council, a conservation coalition based in Montana.

But the Trump administration dismissed environmental objections as roadblocks and claimed that there were "numerous developments related to global action to address climate change" in the years since Obama-era rejection of the project.

The analysis of a cross-border project like this is done by the State Department.

NPR reached out to TransCanada early Friday for comment on the ruling but did not hear back by the time of publishing.

The $8 billion pipeline would convey up to 830,000 barrels crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana to facilities in Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The pipeline is created to run from tar sand oil fields in Canada's Albert province, through Montana, South Dakota and part of Nebraska, to existing facilities in that last state.

They argued that the pipeline would support the extraction of crude oil from oil sands, a process that pumps more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than standard crude oil extraction. Native American groups in Montana and elsewhere fought the Keystone project as well, saying its route failed to adhere to historical treaty boundaries and would impinge on their water systems and sacred lands.

US benchmark WTI little changed after the decision, trading down 0.1 percent.

The decision to deny the pipeline permit came after the completion of a long-awaited final environmental impact statement - 11 volumes of analysis released in 2014.

"An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, any more than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate", he continued.

Although the decision does not permanently halt the pipeline's construction, it nevertheless comes as TransCanada, the Canadian company that owns Keystone, is preparing to start construction in Montana, shipping pipe to various locations throughout the state, the Great Falls Tribune reports.



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