Science

United States court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

United States court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

Environmentalists and tribal groups cheered the ruling by a USA district judge in Montana, while President Donald Trump called it "a political decision" and "a disgrace".

Morris, a former clerk to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama.

Obama rejected Keystone XL before leaving office.

Morris ruled the Trump administration "jumped the gun" by pushing forward with the pipeline despite concerns over damage to native American heritage and the resulting release of greenhouse gases.

The Indigenous Environmental Network, River Alliance and Northern Plains Resource Council filed a pair of lawsuits against the U.S.in March 2017 shortly after President Donald Trump gave his approval for the project to cross the U.S.

One of those litigants in this case, the Sierra Club, cheered the decision on substantive grounds. Construction of the United States leg had been scheduled to begin next year. TransCanada had been staging pipes and clearing vegetation along the route in Canada and the U.S. "It's not over for us, we're just going to keep on going ahead".

Trump, a Republican, said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce US dependence on foreign oil.

Legal experts believe TransCanada has three avenues for the project.

The court's ruling comes a little more than a month after TransCanada said that construction of the pipeline could begin as soon as next year.

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Each of those options have problems of their own, said Fred Jauss, a Washington, D.C. -based partner with Dorsey & Whitney LLP.

"It's emblematic of what we're seeing with the Trump administration, which is a very fast and sloppy reversal of prior decisions.in a way that doesn't adhere to the rule of law", Prange told The Post.

"The department's 2017 conclusory analysis that climate-related impacts from Keystone subsequently would prove inconsequential and its corresponding reliance on this conclusion as a centerpiece of its policy change required the department to provide a 'reasoned explanation, '" Judge Morris said.

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.

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.

"We see the potential delay of this project being between eight months and a year - and that could push the (in-service date for the) line back to the middle half of 2022", Rogers said.

"These things are turning on what seem to be pretty narrow issues and they're pretty similar on both sides of the border". The Trump administration or TransCanada could still appeal the court's ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

"An important dynamic here is whether the company remains committed to pursuing the project in light of ongoing regulatory delays, especially as we believe there is a strong desire to substantially complete the project before the next USA presidential election", Cox said.