Another Keystone XL setback; environmental review ordered
FILE – In this March 24, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump, flanked by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, is seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, during the announcing of the approval of a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for the $8 billion project.A federal judge in Montana has blocked construction of the $8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline to allow more time to study the project’s potential environmental impact. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, came as Calgary-based TransCanada was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana. Environmental groups had sued TransCanada and The U.S. Department of State in federal court in Great Falls. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Environmentalists cheered a federal court order that blocks a Trump administration permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, pending an environmental review.
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The pipeline would begin in Alberta and shuttle as much as 830,000 barrels a day of crude through a half dozen states to terminals on the Gulf Coast.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris put on hold the $8 billion project, ruling that the potential impact had not been considered as required by federal law. Environmentalists and Native American groups sued to stop the project, citing property rights and potential oil spills.
Morris was appointed by President Barack Obama.
Becky Mitchell, chairwoman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a plaintiff in the case, said that the organization is thrilled with the ruling.
TransCanada, which is pushing the project, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday.
The company and opponents of the project have been in a decade-long dispute that has spanned several presidencies and involved standoffs between protesters and law enforcement.
In 2008, the U.S. State Department issued a presidential permit for the pipeline and TransCanada filed paperwork to expand the project. After years of legal wrangling, Barack Obama rejected the permit in 2015.
The company responded by seeking $15 billion in damages. President Donald Trump signed executive actions to again advance construction of the project in 2017.
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