U.S. court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

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U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris, of Montana, issued a 54-page ruling that boiled down to a simple message: Facts matter. Trump signed memoranda approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines early in his presidency in January 2017, promising the projects would provide jobs and stimulate the economy.

Trump, a Republican, said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce USA dependence on foreign oil.

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

In Thursday's ruling, Morris ordered the government to issue a more thorough environmental analysis before the project can move forward.

"An agency can not simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past", Morris wrote Thursday.

McConaghy said that, most likely, "TransCanada has been working steadily through the night with the Trump administration to decide what they're going to tactically do". "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".

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Western Canadian Select crude oil is selling at about $18 a barrel as its discount to US benchmark West Texas Intermediate as a lack of pipeline capacity bottlenecks production in Alberta.

The major oil pipeline proposed by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. would link Alberta's oilsands to refineries and overseas markets on the Texas Gulf Coast.

An AP map shows the proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension route.

But it has been the subject of protests for more than a decade, both from environmentalists and Native American groups, who say it will cut through their sovereign lands.

Trump has touted the $8 billion pipeline as part of his pledge to achieve North American "energy dominance" and has contrasted his administration's quick approval of the project with years of delay under President Barack Obama.

"And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership", he said, adding that the "biggest risk" the US faced was "not acting".

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According to a report in The Hill, Judge Morris said the State Department didn't properly take into account the effects of global warming, the risk of oil spills and worldwide oil prices.

Other plaintiffs in the suit included The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Bold Nebraska.

The Trudeau government says it's disappointed that a USA judge has halted progress on building the $10-billion Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

Asked how'd she react if the case ultimately wound up before the US Supreme Court, Carmen told host John Kiriakou that she doesn't exactly have a lot of faith in the highest court, "especially stacked as it is right now".

The State Department could try to address the deficiencies the judge indicated in the ruling, appeal the decision to a higher court, or Congress could try to pass a law enabling the project's construction.

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