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News > World

US Federal Judge Stops Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline

  • Casey Camp of the Ponca Nation during a 2015 protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Casey Camp of the Ponca Nation during a 2015 protest against the Keystone XL pipeline. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 November 2018

Environmentalists and Native American groups have opposed the project for almost a decade, since 2010.

A United States federal judge in Montana halted Thursday construction of the Keystone XL pipeline designed to carry heavy crude oil from Canada to the United States, drawing a sharp rebuke on Friday from President Donald Trump.

 Examined: Indigenous Resistance To Major Oil Pipelines

The ruling drew an angry response from Trump, who approved the pipeline shortly after taking office. It also piles pressure on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to assist the country's ailing oil sector.

It was a win for environmental and Native American groups who sued the U.S. government in 2017, soon after Trump announced a presidential permit for the project. The ruling also rewarded tribal groups and ranchers who have spent more than a decade fighting the planned pipeline.

U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris wrote that a U.S. State Department environmental analysis of Keystone XL "fell short of a 'hard look'" at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources.

"It was a political decision made by a judge. I think it's a disgrace," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"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," said the Sierra Club, one of the environmental groups involved in the lawsuit.

The pipeline would carry heavy crude from Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would connect to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast, as well as Gulf export terminals. However, it would also cross the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Canada is the primary source of imported U.S. oil, but congested pipelines have forced oil shippers to use costlier rail and trucks.

In the ruling, Judge Morris ordered the government to issue a more thorough environmental analysis before the project can move forward. He also said the analysis failed to fully review the effects of the current oil price on the pipeline's viability and did not fully model potential oil spills and offer mitigations measures.

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