Keystone XL Pipeline: US judge orders halt on construction

09 Novembre, 2018, 13:54 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Indigenous and climate protesters have long been opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline

TransCanada's $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline project has suffered another setback after a USA federal judge blocked its construction to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact.

The court blocked any activity furthering the construction or operation until the U.S. State Department completes a supplement to a 2014 environmental impact statement that complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

Trump granted a permit for the $8 billion conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas just days after taking office a year ago.

Judge Brian Morris' 54-page order, issued late Thursday, overturns the Trump administrations's approval previous year of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline and at least temporarily prevents it from being built. They also opposed the pipeline because it would run across one of the world's largest underground deposits of fresh water.

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.

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

According to a report in The Hill, Judge Morris said the State Department didn't properly take into account the effects of global warming, the risk of oil spills and worldwide oil prices.

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

"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.

If built, it would transport around 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada, and the Bakken Shale Formation in Montana to facilities near Steele City, Neb.

The US stretch of line that needs to be built would be 875 miles (1,450 km) long.

No immediate impact in oil markets is seen, as the pipeline isn't scheduled to come online for years regardless of the ruling.

Other plaintiffs in the suit included The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Bold Nebraska.

NPR reached out to TransCanada early Friday for comment on the ruling but did not hear back by the time of publishing.

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