Brian Morris, the district judge in Montana, wrote a 54-page order addressing allegations from Indigenous and environmental groups, alleging the U.S. Department of State made several violations when it approved the $8 billion, 1,900-kilometre project.
U.S. judge blocks TransCanadas Keystone XL pipeline
In August, Morris ruled that the State Department was obligated to "analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision" to issue a permit for the pipeline last year.
"When the Trump administration reversed course it failed to address those factual findings," Volker said. "Under a number of different laws in the states administration has to explain the reasons why it feels it can change a decision when it was made contrary to actual findings in the past."
Keystone XL pipeline faces new legal roadblock
Volker said the Keystone XL project violated several environmental laws and emphasised that the Trump administration failed to address a key flip flop from a previous ruling by former Secretary of State John Kerry in 2015.
Western Canadian Select crude oil is selling at about $18 a barrel as its discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate as a lack of pipeline capacity bottlenecks production in Alberta.
During Barack Obama's presidency, Kerry ruled that the project wasn't in the public interest, citing climate change issues and alleging the project wouldn't be the economic driver it promised to be.
Volker said the judge's ruling means the project has been set aside and can't proceed — but the order can be appealed.
A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, Nebraska, in 2014. REUTERS/Lane Hickenbottom The ruling out of a U.S. Court in Montana late on Thursday dealt a major setback to TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO), whose stock dropped 2 percent in Toronto. Shares of companies that would ship oil on the pipeline also fell. TransCanada said in a statement it remains committed to building the $8 billion, 1,180 mile (1,900 km) pipeline.
Greenpeace Canada climate campaigner Mike Hudema said the ruling is a significant setback for TransCanada's Keystone XL project and a big win for Indigenous groups and environmental defenders.
"This should also be huge warning sign to the Liberal government about the inevitable legal hurdles they will face if they continue to rush and curtail the Trans Mountain assessment process," he wrote in a statement. "We can't afford new fossil fuel infrastructure if we want to save the planet."
“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.
He added that halving fossil fuel emissions in the next ten years means work on any new pipelines must come to a full stop in order to avoid a "climate catastrophe."
In contrast, Dennis McConaghy, a former executive at the Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation, said the ruling is bad news for Canada but guessed that the ruling will be looked at and reversed in a higher court.
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.
"This would be very, very problematic and put even more pressure on a Trudeau government to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built," he said. "Canadians should hope that this thing is vigorously litigated and reversed."
Dallas Goldtooth has been following the twists and turns of the project for years, and the Keep It In The Ground campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network said he was flustered because the ruling was "huge news."
"We keep killing it, and it keeps coming back from the dead," said Goldtooth, who is a Mdewakanton Dakota and Diñe man based in Minnesota.
U.S. judge blocks construction of Keystone XL pipeline
Goldtooth, one of the plaintiffs represented by Volker, said if necessary he would show up at a construction site with judge Morris' ruling to stand his ground and make sure it is followed.
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WASHINGTON — In a setback for the Trump administration, a federal judge has blocked a permit for construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and ordered officials to complete an environmental review.
Environmentalists and tribal groups cheered the ruling by a U.S. district judge in Montana, while President Donald Trump called it "a political decision" and "a disgrace."
Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government jumped the gun and orders halt
The 1,184-mile (1,900 kilometre) pipeline would begin in Alberta and shuttle as much as 830,000 barrels a day of crude through a half dozen states to terminals on the Gulf Coast.
Trump has touted the $8 billion pipeline as part of his pledge to achieve North American "energy dominance" and has contrasted his administrations quick approval of the project with years of delay under President Barack Obama.
Federal Judge Blocks Construction of Keystone XL Pipeline
The pipeline was first proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada in 2008. It has become the focal point of a decade-long dispute that pits Democrats, environmental groups and Native American tribes who warn of pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions against business groups and Republicans who cheer the projects jobs and potential energy production.
In a major victory for environmentalists and indigenous rights groups, Judge Brian Morris of the District Court for the District of Montana overturned President Trumps permit for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, which the president signed shortly after taking office last year.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris put a hold on the project late Thursday, ruling that the State Department had not fully considered potential oil spills and other impacts as required by federal law. He ordered the department to complete a full review. Environmentalists and Native American groups had sued to stop the project, citing property rights and possible spills.
The ruling out of a U.S. Court in Montana late on Thursday dealt a major setback to TransCanada Corp, whose stock dropped 2 per cent in Toronto. Shares of companies that would ship oil on the pipeline also fell. TransCanada said in a statement it remains committed to building the $8 billion, 1,180 mile (1,900 km) pipeline.
Keystone XL Pipeline Faces Uncertain Future
Becky Mitchell, chairwoman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a plaintiff in the case, said her organization is thrilled with the ruling.
Morris, in his ruling, 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 pipelines viability and did not fully model potential oil spills and offer mitigations measures.
Trump slams US judges decision to halt Keystone XL pipeline
"This decision sends TransCanada back to the drawing board," Mitchell said, calling the ruling "the results of grassroots democracy in action, winning for water and people."
Alberta has felt the financial pressure, and an industry source said the provincial government last month solicited proposals from companies on ways to move crude faster by rail. The source said proposals included ideas such as buying rail cars and investing in loading terminals.
TransCanada said in a statement that it was reviewing the judges 54-page decision. "We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project," TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said.
The fight over the project has spanned several presidencies and involved standoffs between protesters and law enforcement.
Judge tosses Trumps Keystone XL approval over climate change
After years of legal wrangling, Obama rejected a permit for the pipeline in 2015. The company responded by seeking $15 billion in damages.
TransCanada had recently announced plans to start construction next year, after a State Department review ordered by Morris concluded that major environmental damage from a leak is unlikely and could quickly be mitigated. Morris said that review was inadequate.
The pipeline was denied a permit by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, but Donald Trump made it one of his priorities of taking office to approve it and asked the Calgary based company to re-submit the line.
TransCanada has promised continuous monitoring and says automatic shut-off valves would help officials quickly identify a leak or rupture.
Tom Goldtooth, executive director for the Indigenous Environmental Network said the ruling was a win for tribes, water "and for the sacredness of Mother Earth."
He called the pipeline "the enemy of the people, the climate and life as we know it. It must be stopped."
U.S. President Donald Trump made it a priority after taking office and asked TransCanada to resubmit its proposal.
Pipes ready for the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D., on Wednesday April 22, 2015. (Alex Panetta/The Canadian Press)