Federal judge blocks Keystone Pipeline XL in major blow to Trump administration

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 federal judge says the Trump administration did not consider environmental consequences of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, dealing a setback for the Trump administration and a win for environmental groups.

TransCanada says it remains committed to the project despite the Montana judge's ruling that it must pass a further environmental review.

Before she was elected premier of Alberta in 2015, Rachel Notley told the Calgary Herald her government would not lobby former USA president Barack Obama's Washington on behalf of the Keystone XL project.

The court has asked the government to review its assessment and revise it, taking into account the changes in the oil markets since 2014, the latest in climate change, and the presence of "cultural resources" along the route of the pipeline that was planned to carry heavy oil from Alberta to USA refineries.

"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' judgement read.

Then came policy shifts in the Trump administration. 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.

TransCanada did not indicate how it would proceed on Friday but the ruling is a blow to the company's plans to begin construction early next year.

Energy producers in the northern nation already are struggling with a shortage of pipeline space that has hammered prices for their crude, sending its discount to USA benchmarks to the widest on record in recent weeks.

3 dead, including shooter, at Florida yoga studio
Records show that the charges were eventually dismissed after Beierle followed the conditions of a deferred prosecution agreement. In the videos, Beierle pontificated from a dimly lit bedroom, with an unmade bed and a pile of cardboard boxes in the background.

"The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can't ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities". There's simply no excuse for approving this bad project.

Morris said the government must provide "new and relevant information regarding the risk of spills".

Keystone XL roused a major environmental protest movement during Barack Obama's presidency, leading to arrests outside the White House and promises by activists to harass construction along the pipeline's route.

The Keystone XL (the initials stand for "export limited"), which aims to extend TransCanada's existing Keystone pipeline, would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day through a 36-inch pipe from Alberta, Canada, and Montana to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.

One of those litigants in this case, the Sierra Club, cheered the decision on substantive grounds. "It's not over for us, we're just going to keep on going ahead".

Work can not proceed until the State Department completes a supplement to the environmental impact statement that complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, Morris ruled.

Former TransCanada executive Dennis McConaghy, who has written a book on the Keystone XL pipeline saga, said the Calgary-based pipeline giant had successfully re-contracted all the available space on the pipeline, which should sufficiently satisfy the court of the viability of the pipeline.

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