A U.S. district judge has issued an order blocking construction of the controversial transnational Keystone XL Pipeline until the State Department conducts further study of its impact on the environment.
Judge Brian Morris’ 54-page order, issued late Thursday, overturns the Trump administrations’s approval last year of the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline and at least temporarily prevents it from being built.
Although the decision does not permanently halt the pipeline’s construction, it nevertheless comes as TransCanada, the Canadian company that owns Keystone, is preparing to start construction in Montana, shipping pipe to various locations throughout the state, the Great Falls Tribune reports.
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.”
In Thursday’s ruling, Morris wrote that the State Department’s analysis of potential environmental effects fell short of a “hard look” on the effects of current oil prices on the viability of Keystone, cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, cultural resources and potential oil spills.
“These omissions require a remand with instructions to the Department to satisfy its obligations under NEPA,” he wrote.
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