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Federal judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline
09 November 2018, 07:13 | Austin Hogan
Montana Federal Judge Halts Keystone XL Pipeline
TransCanada's $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline project has suffered another setback after a US federal judge blocked its construction to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact.
TransCanada Corp.'s long-troubled Keystone XL oil pipeline project hit another roadblock as a U.S. District Court in Montana ruled it must wait for a further environmental review.
Trump granted a permit for the US$8 billion (RM33.4 billion) conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas just days after taking office a year ago. After years of legal wrangling, Barack Obama rejected the permit in 2015.
In Thursday's ruling, Morris ordered the government to issue a more thorough environmental analysis before the project can move forward.
Hayes told The Washington Post that the company had already been moving equipment into place and started pre-construction in Montana and South Dakota with the intent of beginning construction in early 2019. His decision was one of scores of court rebukes to the Trump administration for decisions on the environment, immigration and transgender service in the military, among other issues, made hastily and, in the opinions of dozens of judges, without the "reasoned consideration" required by various federal laws, particularly the Administrative Procedure Act.
A coalition of environmental and indigenous rights groups filed a lawsuit against the firm and the State Department in March to block Trump's permit, according to the Tribune.
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But it has been the subject of protests for more than a decade, both from environmentalists and Native American groups, who say it will cut through their sovereign lands. He included pipeline leaks, the expansion of another pipeline called the Alberta Clipper and shifts in oil markets.
The proposed US portion of the pipeline would run about 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
"An agency can not simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past", Judge Morris said in his ruling.
The judge also argued that the State Department failed to properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from the pipeline and the risk of oil spills.
A presidential permit is required for infrastructure projects that cross global borders.
TransCanada Corp's almost 1,200-mile pipeline has become one of the major battlegrounds in the climate change debate and, if completed, would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels per day from Canada's tar sands pits to Gulf Coast refineries in the US. Construction of the U.S. leg had been scheduled to begin next year.
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