Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018
News

A federal judge blocks the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that the Trump administration review ignored the "disturbing" facts about climate change


A federal judge temporarily blocked the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, saying on Thursday that the Trump administration had not justified its decision to license the 1,200-mile project to connect Canada's oil sands at refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. Judge Brian Morris of the US court in Montana said the State Department was ignoring crucial climate change issues in pursuit of the president's goal of permitting the construction of the pipeline. In doing so, the administration has broken the law on administrative procedure, which requires "reasoned" explanations of government decisions, especially when they represent a reversal of well-considered acts. This was a major defeat for Trump, who attacked the Obama administration for stopping the project from demonstrations and an environmental impact study. Trump signed an executive order two days after the start of his presidency, triggering a reversal of course on the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as another major pipeline, Dakota Access. The decision highlights a broader legal vulnerability in the Trump administration's pressure to cancel Obama's environmental protections. Since Trump took office, federal courts have repeatedly found that its agencies have bypassed the regulatory process in areas ranging from water protection to chemical plant safety operations. Stringent environmental and administrative laws, many of which date back to the 1970s, have given the administration's opponents ample legal ammunition. Thursday's decision does not permanently block a federal license for Keystone XL. The administration needs to undertake a more comprehensive review of the potential adverse effects of climate change, cultural resources and endangered species. The court basically ordered a do-over. In a 54-page notice, Morris accused the administration of ignoring the facts, facts established by experts under the Obama administration about Keystone's "climate-related impacts." The Trump administration said, without any information, that these impacts "would be of no consequence," Morris wrote. The State Department "has simply moved away from previous factual findings on climate change to support its reversal of the trend". He also used "out-of-date information" on the potential impact of oil spills on endangered species, he said, rather than "the best scientific and commercial data available." Today's decision makes it clear once and for all that it is time for TransCanada to abandon its Keystone XL pipe dream, "said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes in a statement. The lawsuit that prompted Thursday's order was filed by a group of opponents, including the aboriginal environmental network and the Montana-based conservation coalition, the Northern Plains Resource Council. Trump administration has attempted to impose this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can not ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities, "Hayes told Hayes. ngton Post that the company was already installing equipment in Montana and South Dakota with the goal of starting construction work in early 2019. "It is clear that this decision will significantly delay the pipeline tonight" said Hayes. an environmental impact statement of this magnitude usually takes about a year. "TransCanada does not have an approved pipeline at this stage." [Read the decision] Morris, former clerk of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, has been appointed to the bench by President Obama. His decision is one of many judicial criticisms of the Trump administration for decisions on the environment, immigration and the transgender service in the military, all of which are hastily dozens of judges without "reasoned consideration". required by federal law. Also on Thursday, a federal appeals court ruled that Trump could not immediately stop the program, DACA, which protects from the expulsion of undocumented young immigrants who were brought into the country as children. The administration is appealing many decisions and could also challenge Thursday's decision. The administration did not issue an immediate comment after the pipeline order. TransCanada, the group behind the Calgary-based project, did not respond to the request for comments early Friday morning. The decision to license the Keystone XL Pipeline falls within the core jurisdiction of the State Department under its authority to issue "presidential licenses" for cross-border infrastructure projects. This large-scale project remains one of the most controversial infrastructure projects in modern American history. His supporters and critics clashed in court and on the streets for a decade. It is intended to extend TransCanada's existing Keystone pipeline, which was completed in 2013. Keystone XL (the initials mean "limited export") would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the United States. Alberta, Canada and Montana to Oklahoma and the Gulf. Side. In the United States, the pipeline would span 875 miles through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, with the remainder extending into Canada. [The Keystone XL Pipeline and its politics, explained] He met with strong opposition from environmental groups, as well as Obama, who rejected him three years ago on the grounds that it would accelerate climate change. Activists argue that the pipeline would be particularly damaging to the climate, as it would mean extracting low-grade, thick oil from the tar sands in Canada, with a lot of tree cutting and energy consumption, which would increase greenhouse gas emissions. Native American groups in Montana and other areas also fought the Keystone project, saying its route would not adhere to historic treaty boundaries and encroach on their water systems and sacred lands. In 2015, on the eve of international climate negotiations in Paris, the Obama administration appeared to put an end to the seven-year saga when it announced the stop of the construction of the gas pipeline, asserting that this approval would jeopardize the country's efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Obama was now a "world leader when it came to taking serious action to combat climate change." "Frankly, the approval of this project would have undermined this global leadership," he said, adding that the "biggest risk" the US was "inactive". The decision to refuse the pipeline license was taken after the completion of a long-awaited final environmental impact statement – 11 volumes of analysis published in 2014. C & D Is this 2014 assessment that the State Department report of the presidential presidency of January 2017 of Trump, used to make its decision to approve the pipeline, reported the Post. According to the department, "there is no significant change or new material information that could affect the maintenance of reliability" report. Morris said however that there had been changes since the 2014 assessment and that the Trump administration had failed to take them into account. Among these, it included the expansion of another pipeline called Alberta Clipper and the evolution of oil markets. These could alter the overall impact of Keystone XL and should have been taken into account by the government. Among the judge's findings: The State Department, in issuing the license, did not analyze the "cumulative greenhouse gas emissions" of the Keystone Project and the Alberta Clipper Expanded Pipeline. She "ignored her duty to" look closely "at these two related actions. The ministry "acted from incomplete information regarding" potential damage to cultural resources on Indian territory along the route. "The department seems to have jumped on the gun." The department has failed to explain irrefutably its reversal, "let alone a reasoned explanation …". An agency simply can not ignore the factual findings contrary or contrary that it has taken in the past, any more than it can ignore the disturbing facts "" in the present, "he wrote , citing judicial precedents The Department's analysis that Keystone's "climate-related impacts" would be meaningless "required a" reasoned explanation. "She did not provide one Jackie Prange, a lawyer at Natural Resources Defense Council, called the decision a "huge victory" not only for environmental activists and tribal groups fighting the pipeline, but for "anyone who cares about the lawfulness of the administration of the facts." This is emblematic of what we see with the Trump administration, which consists of a very quick and sloppy reversal of previous decisions … in a way that does not respect the rule of law, "said P range to La Poster. "That's why we continue to win in court."

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