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Keystone XL Approval Receives Push-back From Environmentalists

Canadian activists have requested an American judge to subpoena the U.S. government for all files related to the Trump administration’s approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to emerging reports—a move that may stoke the existing fire of controversy surrounding pipelines in North America.

The environmentalists argue that the administration’s decision to allow the upgrade of the existing Keystone line was arbitrary. Emails and other official documents linked to the decision could help the pipeline’s opponents’ case against the project.

Attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice retorted saying the request amounted to a shot-in-the-dark attempt to build a case that amounted to little more than a “fishing expedition.”

The Northern Plains Resource Council is one of the plaintiffs in the case opposing the pipeline. "You can't make one decision based upon the record, then change your mind based upon the same record," council attorney Timothy Bechtold said. "That is the definition of arbitrary and capricious."

A formal hearing with U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presiding in Great Falls, Montana, is scheduled for this Wednesday.

Jerry Drake, a U.S. government information technology official, said an order by the judge to release the documents would be an arduous process with a formal review of 5 million pages of documents at a cost of $6 million. A total of 4.5 million documents have already been turned over for discovery back in December.

Related: OPEC And Shale Keep Oil Prices Between $60-$75

TransCanada, the pipeline’s lead developersaid it had secured 20-year commitments for a total 500,000 bpd for Keystone XL that would carry Albertan heavy crude to U.S. refineries in the Midwest. The project received the support of the Alberta government as well. But TransCanada has not made a final investment decision on the project. 

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Financial Post’s Geoffrey Morgan recently wrote that while the Keystone XL commitments represent 60 percent of the pipeline’s 830,000-bpd capacity, commitments for another pending project—Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion—have reached 80 percent of the future pipeline’s 708,000-bpd capacity. 

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • paul on February 21 2018 said:
    WE the PEOPLE, request all documents between Barack Hussein Obama and Warren Buffett. Transporting oil by train is expensive and extremely unfriendly to the environment. Buffet bought BNSF after working with the Obama administration to assure the Keystone XL would be blocked because it makes north America stronger.

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