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Federal judge cancels Keystone XL oil pipeline permit

A US federal judge canceled a key permit on Wednesday for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that’s expected to stretch from Canada to Nebraska.

Associated Press reports:

Judge Brian Morris said the US Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately consider effects on endangered species such as pallid sturgeon, a massive, dinosaur-like fish that lives in rivers the pipeline would cross.

It’s another setback for the controversial project, as the ruling could block construction through hundreds of water crossings along the Keystone XL pipeline route. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit that challenged the Corps’ failure to adequately analyze the effects of pipelines authorized under Nationwide Permit 12, including Keystone XL, on local waterways, lands, wildlife, and communities, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

There is another hearing today with Judge Morris on two other lawsuits against the $8 billion pipeline. Native American tribes and environmental groups want Morris to stop the construction at the Canadian border while a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s approval of the pipeline last year works its way through the courts.

As Electrek previously reported, TC Energy (formerly known as TransCanada), who owns the pipeline, wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline, an expansion project, that would carry crude oil from Alberta to Texas refineries. Trump issued a federal permit for the project in 2017 after President Barack Obama previously rejected it.

At the end of October 2019, the Keystone oil pipeline spilled approximately 383,000 gallons of tar sands oil in northeastern North Dakota. It was estimated to have affected about 209,100 square feet (19,426 square meters) of land.

Dena Hoff, a Northern Plains Resource Council member and Glendive, Montana, farmer, said:

Given this new development, it’s imperative that all construction be halted to protect Montana’s rural and tribal communities during this pandemic. How, in good conscience, could we risk overwhelming our most vulnerable healthcare systems for a Canadian project that has never proven to be legally viable?

Photo: TC Energy

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.