A federal judge temporarily blocked the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, claiming late on Thursday that the Trump administration had not justified its decision to grant permission to the 1200 kilometer long project as was designed to connect Canada's tar sands crude oil with refineries on the Gulf of Texas.
It was a big defeat for President Trump, who attacked the Obama administration because he failed to move forward in protest based largely on environmental considerations. Trump signed an executive order two days into his presidency, which launched a course cover on the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline.
The decision, issued by Judge Brian Morris of the District District of Montana, does not permanently block permanent permits, but requires the administration to conduct a more comprehensive review of potential negative impacts associated with climate change, cultural resources and endangered species. It initially ordered a transition.
Morris beat the administration with a known message that it ignored facts, created by experts under the Obama Administration on "Climate-Related Impacts" from Keystone XL. The Trump administration claimed, without supporting information, that these impacts "would turn out anyway." The government department "just rejected previous facts about climate change to support the price change."
It also used "outdated information" about the impact of potential oil spill on endangered species, he said, rather than "the best scientific and commercial data available." "
" Today's decision makes it clear once upon a time that TransCanada is giving up on its Keystone XL pipe dream, "said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes in a statement. The lawsuit that led Thursday's order was brought by a collection of opponents including the urban environmental network and the Northern Plains Resource Council, a conservation coalition based in Montana.
"The Trump Administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can not ignore the threats it would make for our clean water, climate and society," Hayes said.
Hayes told The Washington Post that the company had already moved equipment in place in Montana and South Dakota with the intention of commencing construction in 2019. "It is clear that this decision will tonight delay the pipeline significantly," said Hayes, who noted that a proper environmental impact of this magnitude usually takes about a year to complete. "TransCanada does not have an approved pipeline at this time."
Morris, a former clerk of late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, was appointed to the bench by President Obama. His decision was one of the points Ruling against the Trump Administration for decisions on the environment, immigration and military trans mission, among other things, was done quickly and in the human race gives from dozens of judges, without being "justified" by various federal laws, especially the Administration Act. Also on Thursday, a federal appeal court decided that Trump could not immediately terminate the DACA program, which displays from deportation of young unidentified immigrants who were brought to the country as a child.
The administration appeals many of the elevations and can appeal Thursday's decision as well. No immediate comment came from the administration after the pipeline. TransCanada, Calgary-based group behind the project, did not respond to request for comment early Friday morning.
The Keystone XL pipeline permission decision was largely in the hands of the ministry, by virtue of its authority to issue "presidential leave" for cross-border infrastructure projects.
The massive project remains one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in modern American history.
It is intended to be an extension of TransCanada's existing Keystone pipeline, completed in 2013. Keystone XL will transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta, Canada and Montana to Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. In the US, the pipeline will stretch 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, while the rest continues into Canada.
It faced sustained opposition from environmental defense groups, as well as from Obama, as concerned about the contribution it would make to climate change.
As postman Steven Mufson reported, activists said the pipeline would be particularly harmful to the climate because it would mean pulling out low-grade oil from Canada's oil sands, with a lot of wood cutting and energy consumption in the process, which will increase greenhouse gas emissions. Native American groups in Montana and elsewhere fought the Keystone project, saying that the route failed to comply with the historical treaty limits and would affect the water systems and the holy countries.
In 2015 across the international climate negotiations in Paris, the Obama administration seemed to put an end to the seven-year history when it announced that it stopped the construction of the pipeline, claiming that approval would compromise the country's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The United States, Obama said, was now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to combat climate change. "
"And, of course, the approval of this project would have undermined global leadership," he said, adding that "biggest risk" the United States met "does not act."
The decision to deny the pipeline license came after a long-awaited final environmental impact statement ended – 11 volume analyzes released in 2014.
It was this 2014 assessment that the government department, under the leadership of Trumps January 2017 presidential memorandum, used to make a decision to approve the pipeline, reported The Post. According to the department, "there are no significant changes or significant new information that will affect continued reliability" in the report.
Morris said, however, that there have been changes since 2014, and the Trump Administration failed to evaluate them. He included pipeline leaks, the expansion of another pipeline called Alberta Clipper and shift in oil markets. They could change the overall impact of Keystone XL and should have been considered by the government.
- The state department failed to "analyze the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions" of the Keystone project and the expanded Alberta Clipper pipeline. It ignored its duty to take a "hard look" on these two connections.
- The department was dealing with incomplete information about "potential damage to cultural resources in Indian territory along the route." The institute seems to have jumped on the gun. "
- The department failed to make a fact-based explanation of course follow-up," let alone justified explanation …. "An agency can not just ignore opposite or inconvenient factual provisions as it did before, more than ignoring inconvenient facts" in the present, "he wrote and quoted legal precedents.
- Department's analysis that "Climate-related Impacts" from Keystone "would prove disadvantages" needed a "justified explanation." It did not give one.
Jackie Prange, senior lawyer with the Natural Resources Council, called the government a "big win" not only for environmentalists and tribal groups who has turned on the pipeline, but for "everyone who cares about the rule of law and keep this administration to the facts. "
" It's symbolic of what we see with the Trump administration, which is a very fast and sloppy reversal of previous decisions … in a way that does not comply with the rule of law, "Prange said. "Therefore, we continue to win in court."