U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls, MT, issued a 54-page order Thursday blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline until more environmental analysis of the TransCanada project is done.
The ruling came in a lawsuit that several environmental groups filed against the U.S. government in 2017, soon after President Donald Trump announced a presidential permit for the project.
The ruling deals a major setback for TransCanada and could possibly delay the construction of the $8 billion, 1,180 mile (1,900 km) pipeline that will carry heavy crude to Steele City, Nebraska, from Canada’s oilsands in Alberta.
This win for farmers and ranchers, for sovereign nations, indigenous grassroots leaders and environmental groups is a significant blow to the Trump administration,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska, a group that advocates for protecting land and water. “We’ve known for a long time that Keystone XL is all risk and no reward.”
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris’ Morris wrote in his ruling that a U.S. State Department environmental analysis “fell short of a ‘hard look”‘ at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources.
He also ruled 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.
In the Thursday’s ruling, Morris ordered the government to issue a more thorough environmental analysis before the project can move forward.
“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.
Trump supported building the pipeline, which was rejected by former President Barack Obama in 2015 on environmental concerns relating to emissions that cause climate change.
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