Another Keystone XL setback; environmental review ordered

The pipeline would transport up to barrels of crude a day from Alberta Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska

The pipeline would transport up to barrels of crude a day from Alberta Canada and Montana to facilities in Nebraska

A United States judge has blocked the construction of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the US.

The ruling on Thursday by Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups.

The ruling is a major victory for environmentalist groups that sued to stop the project and for the Native American tribes that have protested against it for years.

The state department has now been ordered to do a more thorough review of the affect on issues like the climate. He included pipeline leaks, the expansion of another pipeline called the Alberta Clipper and shifts in oil markets.

Becky Mitchell, chairwoman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a plaintiff in the case, said that the organization is thrilled with the ruling. "Despite the best efforts of wealthy, multinational corporations and the powerful politicians who cynically do their bidding, we see that everyday people can still band together and successfully defend their rights".

In 2008, the U.S. State Department issued a presidential permit for the pipeline and TransCanada filed paperwork to expand the project. The State Department "simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal".

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"An agency can not simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past", Judge Morris said in his ruling.

The 1,179-mile Keystone XL Pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta, Canada, and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana over 875 miles to existing pipeline facilities in Nebraska, then on to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.

TransCanada, which had been planning the pipeline for much of this decade, had planned to begin construction next year.

The judge also argued that the government's analysis had not fully determined the potential for oil spills and had failed to provide substantiating evidence or a "reasoned explanation" for overturning the Obama administration's decision to block construction. TransCanada, the Calgary-based group behind the project, did not respond to request for comment early Friday morning. "Today, the courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists and Native communities".

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.

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