"In a major blow to the Trump administration, a federal judge halted construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday night, citing concerns over climate change and violations of environmental laws.
Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court for Montana ruled that both the Trump administration and TransCanada largely ignored climate change in their decision to proceed with the tar sands project. The $8 billion pipeline, spanning 1,180 miles, would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada into the United States.
The Obama administration waffled on the pipeline before ultimately agreeing to deny the permit following the completion of a 2014 analysis by the State Department and mass-resistance to the effort.
By virtue of the pipeline’s border-crossing nature, approval was largely left to the State Department, which under the Trump administration okayed the project, arguing that little had changed since the analysis and that any damage to the environment would be minimal.
Morris disagreed. His 54-page opinion, which references climate change 11 times, states that the Trump State Department failed to “analyze the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions” and their impact on the environment and on Native tribes, including impacts on “cultural resources” spanning over 1,000 acres.
“The Department … simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal,” the judge stated...
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