U.S. court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Former TransCanada executive Dennis McConaghy, who has written a book on the Keystone XL pipeline saga, said the Calgary-based pipeline giant had successfully re-contracted all the available space on the pipeline, which should sufficiently satisfy the court of the viability of the pipeline.

"The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can't ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities".

Morris hit the administration with a familiar charge, that it disregarded facts, facts established by experts during the Obama administration about "climate-related impacts" from Keystone XL.

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.

The ruling is a victory for environmentalists, tribal groups and ranchers who have spent more than a decade fighting against construction of the pipeline that will carry heavy crude to Steele City, Nebraska, from Canada's oilsands in Alberta.

Opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline has centered on climate change concerns, as well as potential damage to endangered species and to local landowners, including native Americans, whose property would be dug up for the pipeline.

A federal judge has ordered a temporary halt to construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, ruling that the Trump administration didn't properly consider the environmental consequences before pushing ahead with the enormous oil project.

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Democrats Sharice Davids of Kansas and Debra Haaland of New Mexico became the first Native American women elected to Congress. Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico won their races, becoming the first Native American women in Congress.

Reacting to the news on Friday, President Donald Trump called the ruling a "political" decision that was a "disgrace". He said it would create jobs and spur development of infrastructure. "Exact legal recourse options are unclear, but the most likely result is either an escalation through the courts or an additional State Department review and President Trump re-approving the line".

He said the decision also fell short in other areas, including the impact on Native American lands, and did not take into proper consideration issues like oil spills and low prices. The order came as a Canadian energy company prepared to assemble initial stages of the 1,200-mile long, cross-border project.

The proposed US portion of the pipeline would run about 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

The judge also argued that the government's analysis had not fully determined the potential for oil spills and had failed to provide substantiating evidence or a "reasoned explanation" for overturning the Obama administration's decision to block construction.

One of the plaintiffs, the Sierra Club, welcomed the judge's decision. Construction of the USA leg had been scheduled to begin next year.

"We sleep well tonight and tomorrow we continue to keep our guard up, working stronger as good relatives until Keystone XL vanishes, and it will", said Faith Spotted Eagle, member of the Yankton Sioux Nation and Brave Heart Society.

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