US District Judge Brian Morris issued a bid Thursday to block the $ 8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline construction until further environmental analysis is conducted.
The decision comes when TransCanada is preparing to build an oil pipeline that begins in northern Montana, with pipes returning to the state and transporting it to locations along the line.
The ecological groups that have been sued by TransCanada and the US State Union in the Great Falls federal court have called for a decision to abolish Trump's license.
In his decision, Morris stated that government analysis was short:
»The effects of current oil prices on pipeline sustainability.
Cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
»Exploration of potential sources of natural resources.
»Updated modeling of possible oil spills and recommended mitigation measures.
"The department must supplement new and relevant information on risk of spills," wrote Morris.
As for climate change, Morris noted that the Department banned the 2015 license and strongly relied on the role of the United States in climatic leadership. It was under the direction of Obama.
Then, under Trump's administration, the department approved the permit, dismissing concerns about climate change.
The Trump Administration's decision approving the project stressed that "since the decision was made for 2015, there have been many events associated with global action to address climate change, including many countries' announcements of their plans to do so."
Morris said that the statement was not based on factual grounds, let alone a reasoned explanation for a turnaround.
"The agency can not simply ignore the contradictory or inappropriate factual provisions it has made in the past, more than it can ignore the embarrassing facts of writing on an empty globe," wrote Morris.
The reversal required "a reasoned explanation," but instead, the State Department rejected previous factual findings related to climate change, the judge said.
The Keystone XL Pipeline will ship up to 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Alberta, Canada and Bakken Shale Formation in Montana to existing pipelines near Steele City, Neb., Which oil will be delivered to Cushing, Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
The US part of the line would run 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska. The rest of the 1,200 mile line is in Canada.
About 250 miles of pipelines will be buried in six counties in Montana, beginning with the border with Canada in Phillips County. TransCanada has already begun delivering a tube in Montana in anticipation of construction in early 2019.
The Nanjing Network for the Protection of the Environment, the North River Council, and other groups filed a lawsuit against TransCanada and the US State Department in March to block the decision to issue a presidential building permit.
"I would call it a decisive verdict because it turned the president's decision to find the cross-border project in the public interest," Tribune Stephan Volker, Berkeley's attorney lawyer, told. "Judge Morris has rightly ruled that he is not in the public interest because Secretary Kerry a few years ago found a detailed decision that he was not in the public interest."
John Kerry was a state secretary when the Obama administration rejected the presidential license for the pipeline.
A presidential license is needed when the project crosses the international border. The Secretary of State gives a recommendation and then the President decides.
"We never had a verdict against the president who turned the material finding that the project was in the public interest," Volker said. "This finding is needed for cross-border projects, and is unique to such a national project that affects many countries."
Dena Hoff, a Glendive Farmer and a member of the Northern Plains Councilor, called for a reigning victory over the rule of law and common sense in land and water management.
"All Americans should be proud that our system of checks and balances can still work even before huge strains," Hoff said.
The Fort Peck tribe of Montana opposed the current location of the pipeline crossing on the Missouri River in the valley of Montana County because they say oil spills could boil down its downstream water system.
The pipeline would cross the River Milky River 1.6 miles west of Nashua and the Missouri River, just west of the mouth of Milk. This location is 57 miles upstream of the entrance of Assiniboine and the Sioux Rural Water Supply System.
TransCanada says the pipeline will be safe. On the Missouri River, the pipeline depth would be 54 feet below the lowest observed rivers, and heavy-duty pipes will be used with corrosion coatings.
"Pipelines are the safest and most cost-effective way to transport oil on land," according to the environmental impact statement that was completed on the project.
The Obama administration, referring to climate change, denied the permit, saying it was not in the national interest.
Upon approving the gas pipeline, Trump said the project would support US priorities related to energy security, economic development and infrastructure. "
The ecological groups claim that the country will push out of its carrying capacity for carbon dioxide and wonder how this could be in the public interest.
In the same case, Morris was directed by the government in August to supplement the final supplementary statement on the environmental impact in 2014 to consider another alternative path through Nebraska.
But the court should still decide to waive the presidential permit allowing the crossing of the international border between Canada and the United States in Montana.
Morris's 54-page order reverses Trump Administration's approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline and issues a prohibition to prevent project construction.
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