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US court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

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A federal judge on Thursday halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing that President Donald Trump’s administration had failed to adequately explain why it had lifted a ban on the project.

The ruling by Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups.

Trump granted a permit for the $8 billion conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas just days after taking office last year. He said it would create jobs and spur development of infrastructure.

In doing so the administration overturned a ruling by then president Barack Obama in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds, in particular the US contribution to climate change.

The analysis of a cross-border project like this is done by the State Department.

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The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before denying the permit in 2015 was ignored when the department turned around last year and approved it, the judge argued.

“An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, any more than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate,” Morris wrote.

He added: “The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.”

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The judge also argued that the State Department failed to properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from the pipeline and the risk of oil spills.

Thursday’s ruling is temporary, and requires the government to do a more thorough review of how the project might affect the climate, cultural resources and wildlife. The Trump administration can appeal to a higher court.

The pipeline is designed to run from tar sand oil fields in Canada’s Albert province, through Montana, South Dakota and part of Nebraska, to existing facilities in that last state.

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From there it would flow to Oklahoma and on to the Texas Gulf coast.

The US stretch of line that needs to be built would be 875 miles (1,450 km) long.

The pipeline was being prepared by TransCanada. Construction of the US leg had been scheduled to begin next year.

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Environmental and indigenous groups sued TransCanada and the State Department in March to halt the project.

One of the plaintiffs, the Sierra Club, welcomed the judge’s decision.

“Today’s ruling makes it clear once and for all that it’s time for TransCanada to give up on their Keystone XL pipe dream,” Sierra Club senior attorney Doug Hayes said in a statement.

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“The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can’t ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities.”


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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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The best Civil War movie ever made finally gets its due

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On Sunday and on July 24, Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue.

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