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A group of environmental organizations have claimed an important victory in their battle against the Keystone XL oil pipeline project. A federal judge has granted approval for their lawsuit against the administration for its decision to greenlight the controversial project that was vetoed by the previous administration.
The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said that the case alleged the U.S. Department of State and other agencies failed to make an adequate environmental review of the project as they based their conclusions on an environmental impact statement from three years ago and failed to take into account important information about the actual environmental impact the pipeline would have.
What’s more, the plaintiffs jumped at the opportunity to add to their arguments the fact that Keystone XL will now have a different route through South Dakota – one that has not been studied for environmental impact. The South Dakota approval of the pipeline came on Monday, despite a 5,000-barrel leak from its older cousin, Keystone, detected last week.
The organizations behind the lawsuit insist on a new environmental review, similar to the opponents of the Dakota Access projects, who earlier this year won their case with another federal judge.
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An attorney for one of the organizations, Sierra Club, said “The American people will not stand by as the administration tries to bypass critical environmental laws that exist to protect our land and our clean water. Keystone XL is a threat to our land, water, wildlife and climate, and we will continue fighting, in the courts and in the streets, to ensure that it is never built.”
The Obama administration vetoed the Keystone XL project on the grounds that it will not have any significant positive effect on the U.S. economy. For the Trump administration, however, the energy industry is a top priority, and decisions are being made in keeping with this prioritization.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.