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Montana Judge Puts Brakes On Keystone XL

A Montana district court judge has ordered the suspension of construction work on the Keystone XL pipeline on the grounds that violations were made in the government’s environmental review.

In a press release, the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the staunchest opponents of the project, noted that TransCanada had not yet made the final investment decision on Keystone XL and the latest court ruling might shake its belief that it is still a commercially viable project.

The court has asked the government to review its assessment and revise it, taking into account the changes in the oil markets since 2014, the latest in climate change, and the presence of “cultural resources” along the route of the pipeline that was planned to carry heavy oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries. The 830,000 bpd pipeline will run from the Albertan oil sands through Montana and South Dakota, ending in Nebraska, where it would connect to the existing pipeline network that goes on to the Gulf Coast. 

The court’s ruling comes a little more than a month after TransCanada said that construction of the pipeline could begin as soon as next year. The announcement followed an environmental impact review from the U.S. State Department, which concluded the pipeline’s impact on the environment would be “negligible to moderate.”

That environmental impact review was ordered by the same Montana judge, Brian Morris, who now ruled for another review, suspending all work on the project. As a result, the number of people who will be genuinely surprised if the Keystone XL project—vetoed by the Obama administration and later revived by President Trump—ever sees the light of day is growing. It has become one of the most controversial oil projects in North America, but it is also one of the most important for Canadian crude oil producers hit by a significant pipeline capacity shortage. 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • John Brown on November 09 2018 said:
    This shows how corrupt and broken our judicial system has become because of Obama and the Democrats. This pipeline has been studied to death, and the environmental impact statements didn't come from the Trump administration, but from the corrupt Obama regime. It was the Obama regime that supporter of Global Warming and all things left that gave the environomental go ahead, before stopping it for political reasons. Now a corrupt Democrat judge is stepping in and arbitrarily stopping the pipeline again regardless of the law. Corrupt Obama/Democrat Judges just do as they please. This needs to be appealed ASAP to the Supreme Court, overturned and the pipeline should go ahead.
  • Mitch on November 09 2018 said:
    Seeing as some Canadian grades are trading at a more than 40 dollar discount to WTI, it is silly to think it wouldnt be economically viable. Secondly, with Venezuelan heavy crude production in steep decline, gulf coast refiners need to replace those losses. So if anything, keystone is more needed than ever.

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