Keystone XL Ruling Comes at Worst Time for Canadian Oil Industry

Federal Judge Halts Construction Of Keystone XL Pipeline

Montana Federal Judge Halts Keystone XL Pipeline

The Trump administration has regularly run afoul of the courts in its attempts to repeal environmental rules and approve fossil fuel projects.

The Trudeau government says it's disappointed that a US judge has halted progress on building the $10-billion Keystone XL crude oil pipeline. "That's why we keep winning in the court".

TransCanada Corp's almost 1,200-mile pipeline has become one of the major battlegrounds in the climate change debate and, if completed, would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels per day from Canada's tar sands pits to Gulf Coast refineries in the US. His decision was one of scores of court rebukes to the Trump administration for decisions on the environment, immigration and transgender service in the military, among other issues, made hastily and, in the opinions of dozens of judges, without the "reasoned consideration" required by various federal laws, particularly the Administrative Procedure Act.

"We remain committed to building this important energy infrastructure project", TransCanada spokesperson Grady Semmens said.

But the Trump administration dismissed environmental objections as roadblocks and claimed that there were "numerous developments related to global action to address climate change" in the years since Obama-era rejection of the project.

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Before she was elected premier of Alberta in 2015, Rachel Notley told the Calgary Herald her government would not lobby former US president Barack Obama's Washington on behalf of the Keystone XL project.

US President Donald Trump's push for the Keystone XL Pipeline is in direct violation of treaties established to protect lands belonging to indigenous peoples, Andrea Carmen, executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council, told Sputnik. In the United States, the pipeline would stretch 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, with the rest continuing into Canada.

McCuaig-Boyd said the Alberta government had spoken to TransCanada officials, and described the pipeline as critical for the province, country and energy sector.

"And Judge Morris correctly ruled it was not in the public interest because Secretary [of State John] Kerry had found in a detailed ruling several years ago it was not in the public interest".

Even now, the massive project remains one of the most controversial infrastructure proposals in modern American history.

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A shortage of export pipeline space to carry away growing oil production in Alberta has been blamed for recent steep discounts in prices for Canadian oil as compared to New York-traded benchmark oil.

Sierra Club senior attorney Doug Hayes told the Washington Post that construction on the pipeline was slated to begin in early 2019, though an environmental report as the court is requiring would likely take a year to complete.

The company responded by seeking $15 billion in damages.

The order stems from a lawsuit filed by the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance, which alleges that the State Department and TransCanada violated National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, the environmental law described in the order as "the basic national charter for protection of the environment". He signed an executive order supporting its construction in March of previous year.

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