A federal judge has blocked the Keystone XL oil Pipeline on Thursday claiming the Trump administrations justification for approving it was incomplete.
A federal judge blocked the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline Thursday, saying the Trump administration's justification for approving it last year was incomplete.
Judge Brian Morris of the District Court for the District of Montana overturned President Trump's permit for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, which Trump signed shortly after taking office last year.
The decision once again throws into doubt the future of the 1,179-mile Keystone XL, which for much of the decade since its proposal by TransCanada Corp. has been a lightning rod in national energy policy.
The Trump administration had tried to argue that federal courts didn't even have the right to review Trump's approval, saying that it extended from his constitutional authority over border crossings. The court rejected that argument.
In rejecting the permit, Morris relied mainly on arguing that the State Department, the agency that analyzed the project, didn't properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from Keystone and the Alberta Clipper pipeline and the risk of oil spills.
"The major spills that occurred between 2014 and 2017 qualify as significant. The department would have evaluated the spills in the 2014 [environmental review] had the information been available," Morris wrote.
Morris also said that State didn't properly justify its switch from rejecting the pipeline in 2015 under the Obama administration to approving it in 2017 under Trump.
Such a change isn't completely prohibited, Morris said, but State needs to better explain changes like its decision to disregard the climate change arguments it made in 2015.
"The department's 2017 conclusory analysis that climate-related impacts from Keystone subsequently would prove inconsequential and its corresponding reliance on this conclusion as a centerpiece of its policy change required the department to provide a 'reasoned explanation,' Morris said, citing court precedent on similar policy changes.
"The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal."
It appears that Federal judges really have it in for the Trump administration.
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