Construction of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline has been halted by a federal judge who says the Trump administration has failed to acknowledge aspects of climate change that were “inconvenient” in regards to its plan.
The pipeline would have connected oil sands fields in Canada to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, the Washington Post reports, transporting a possible 830,000 barrels of Alberta tar sands oil per day. Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court in Montana, ruled that the basis for the pipeline’s construction dismissed reasonable justification, and ignored expert input on climate change facts, which are required under the Administrative Procedure Act.
According to Morris’ opinion, the State Department, “simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.”
Morris also wrote that the Trump administration’s use of a 2014 environmental review in issuing a presidential permit for the pipeline was a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act.
“The Court enjoins Federal Defendants and TransCanada from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities until the Department has completed a supplement to the 2014 SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) that complies with the requirements of NEPA and the APA,” Morris wrote.
President Trump was not pleased with the ruling.
“It’s a political decision made by a judge. I think it’s a disgrace. 48,000 jobs, I approved it, it’s ready to start,” he told reporters on Friday, Nov. 9.
Construction of Keystone XL was halted in the last year of the Obama administration as nationwide protests reached their most active period. Individuals and groups who opposed the pipeline’s construction made their views known in all 50 states, many taking their argument all the way to Washington, D.C.
John Kerry, Secretary of State in 2017, said the pipeline’s construction would diminish the U.S.’ credibility when it came to leading worldwide climate change initiatives. The Obama Administration also released a report that found the long-term employment figures to be inflated.
Rather than 48,000 jobs, it would only require 35 full-time employees and 15 temporary contractors to run the pipeline after construction was completed, CNN reports.
The steel used in the pipeline’s construction will not contribute to American jobs, either. The Trump Administration’s “buy American” rule, requiring new pipelines to rely solely on American-forges steel, does not apply to the Keystone XL project, as it began construction during a previous presidency.
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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.