A federal judge issued a major ruling Thursday halting construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline until the Trump administration carries out a valid updated environmental review of the project's impact.
The 1,900-kilometer-long pipeline is created to transport up to 830,000 barrels per day of tar sand oil from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, where it would then enter existing pipelines to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
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.
"This is a complete repudiation of the Trump administration's attempts to evade environmental laws and prioritize oil company profits over clean water and wildlife", Jared Margolis, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in astatement. "The courts showed the Trump administration and their corporate polluter friends that they can not bully rural landowners, farmers, environmentalists, and Native communities".
"An agency can not simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past", Judge Morris said in his ruling.
In 2015, the Obama administration rejected construction of the pipeline, saying it would detract from America's global leadership on issues related to climate change.
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Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp gives a thumbs-up to supporters in Athens, Ga., Nov. 7, 2018. DeSantis won by over 55,000 votes (.68 percent) in the intial vote count-very close to triggering a recount.
The Trump administration has regularly run afoul of the courts in its attempts to repeal environmental rules and approve fossil fuel projects.
Morris had ruled in August that the State Department had to reach a conclusion on the environmental impacts of the pipeline, but determined Thursday that the department's analysis had left out information he considered to be crucial.
The US stretch of line that needs to be built would be 875 miles (1,450 km) long.
Jauss said a lengthy appellate process could delay TransCanada's goal of beginning construction next year.
"And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership", he said, adding that the "biggest risk" the USA faced was "not acting". It also did not properly consider the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts from both the Keystone XL pipeline and a related Alberta Clipper expansion project.
Environmental groups who oppose the pipeline and filed the lawsuit say the ruling is a victory for advocates and a significant setback for the pipeline.
"It was a political decision made by a judge".
Asked how'd she react if the case ultimately wound up before the US Supreme Court, Carmen told host John Kiriakou that she doesn't exactly have a lot of faith in the highest court, "especially stacked as it is right now".