Judge Temporarily Halts Keystone Pipeline

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Judge Temporarily Halts Keystone Pipeline

The long fight continues over whether or not the Keystone XL Pipeline will be built. Yesterday a federal judge issued an order that will temporarily stop plans to construct the controversial pipeline. According to this judge, the federal government needs to do more environmental evaluations before it can allow construction to proceed.

 

If completed, the Keystone XL Pipeline will transport oil from Canada and the upper Great Plains to Nebraska. It has been controversial with environmental and Indian groups. They argue that the oil it will transport is produced in ways that are very damaging to the environment, and that the pipeline runs across land that is sacred to Native Americans. Pipeline supporters counter that obtaining this oil from Canada will reduce U.S. reliance on Middle Eastern oil, increasing our national security and decreasing the power of nations that are unfriendly to the U.S.

 

The Obama Administration considered and eventually rejected an application by TransCanada, the pipeline’s owner, to construct it across the U.S./Canadian boundary. President Donald Trump reversed course, approving the pipeline application. However, there have been numerous lawsuits filed to stop its construction.

 

One of those lawsuits alleged that the State Department and TransCanada violated the National Environmental Policy Act. A federal judge has agreed, ordering the Trump Administration to do further environmental review before allowing pipeline construction.

 

This ruling is not a rejection of the federal government’s approval of TransCanada’s application. Instead, it merely requires the federal government to do further environmental reviews to satisfy the National Environmental Policy Act. It is likely that once those reviews are completed, the Trump Administration will conclude that the Keystone XL Pipeline can be built.

 

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