US court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

Posted: November 9, 2018 by oldbrew in Energy, Legal, News

Decision time again [image credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez]

It’s a temporary ban that can be appealed. The circus continues.

A federal judge on Thursday halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing that President Donald Trump’s administration had failed to adequately explain why it had lifted a ban on the project, reports

The ruling 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.

Trump granted a permit for the $8 billion conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas just days after taking office last year. He said it would create jobs and spur development of infrastructure.

In doing so the administration overturned a ruling by then president Barack Obama in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds, in particular the US contribution to climate change.

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

The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before denying the permit in 2015 was ignored when the department turned around last year and approved it, the judge argued.

“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,” Morris wrote.

He added: “The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.”

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.

Thursday’s ruling is temporary, and requires the government to do a more thorough review of how the project might affect the climate, cultural resources and wildlife. The Trump administration can appeal to a higher court.

Continued here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    a more thorough review of how the project might affect the climate

    As the world uses 100 million barrels of oil a day, good luck with that review.

  2. Ron Clutz says:

    IIRC, the initial finding of State Dept found no environmental reason against Keystone. After the greens howled, Obama directed State to change the assessment so he could virtuously order against the pipeline. Now the court refers to the last assessment, ignoring the first one.

  3. ivan says:

    It reads like the judge is a deluded member of the green blob and those opposing the pipeline have been imbibing too much of the green kool aide.

  4. Bob Greene says:

    This doesn’t stop the southern flow of oil. It goes by rail.

  5. Jim says:

    Wrong on all counts. The basic issue is not green, unless you count green back dollars. The pipeline didn’t follow usual practices on going thru someone’s property. The owner didn’t want the pipeline, so the pipeline appropriated the land. Not buy, not rent, appropriated. Approved by the courts. And it’s not the shortest route, that’s thru some immigrants land.who would demand rent. Am I seeing a pattern here? The monies for rent could have helped some of the families on the reservation, better schools, roads, you know, the stuff promised but never delivered. The courts failed the societies of the red man.

  6. Kip Hansen says:

    This is a further example of how important it is for the current administration to have won a stronger majority in the US Senate. Federal Judges are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate, for life-long terms.

    This activist judge has stalled XL once again, based on his ideological views.

    With Ginsberg again “falling down on the job” the Republicans have a chance to add another conservative to the US Supreme Court that can reverse these ideological rulings.

  7. oldbrew says:

    “The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change”

    Which/whose ‘factual findings’ were those?

  8. oldbrew says:

    Jim says: The courts failed the societies of the red man.

    Maybe that was how it looked, but the courts are supposed to apply the laws of the land. Whether a law is fair or not is another matter.

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