Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Stopped Temporarily

The ruling by a federal judge is a major setback for TransCanada’s $8 billion project.

November 12, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A federal judge has temporarily halted construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline after ruling that the Trump administration had failed to justify its decision to grant a permit for the 1,200-mile-long project, reports The Washington Post.

The ruling of Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court in Montana 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 charges that the U.S. State Department ignored crucial issues of climate change to further the president’s goal of getting the pipeline built. By doing so, the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act that requires “reasoned” explanations for government decisions, particularly when they represent reversals of well-studied actions.

Morris noted 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 lands.

The judge added that the analysis failed to fully review the effects of the current oil price on the pipeline's viability and did not fully consider potential oil spills. He ordered the government to issue a more comprehensive environmental analysis before pipeline construction can be resumed.