Federal Court Deals Major Blow to Keystone XL Pipeline

by Victor Flatt | November 12, 2018

Late last week, a federal district court in Montana blocked construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. The decision in Indigenous Environmental Network, et al. v. U.S. Department of State is a significant victory for the environment and a major blow to the ultimate completion of the controversial pipeline.

The case centered on the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to reverse the State Department’s initial rejection of the pipeline project, issued in 2015. The court noted that the environmental impact statement prepared by the Trump State Department in support of the reversal is deficient in its analysis of future oil prices and the need for the project, the cumulative impact of Keystone with the Alberta Clipper pipeline, the need to finish analysis of cultural impacts along the route, and the need for updated oil spill information. The court also concluded that the Trump administration failed to provide adequate reasons for the reversal, a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Though much of the court order is based on the administration's failure to provide adequate information on and analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline (and attendant issues of endangered species protection), the issues that are germane to much of the court’s ruling cannot be corrected by merely supplying more information. In particular, the new reality of oil prices undercuts the need for the project. If, in fact, the State Department adequately considered the new reality ...

Blistering Comments on State's Draft Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement

by Sandra Zellmer | April 23, 2013
Monday was the deadline for public comment on the State Department's draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Mine, which I submitted with the support of two of my University of Nebraska colleagues, are here. The State Department had initially announced that it would take the unusual path of refusing to make all of the comments available to the public absent a Freedom of Information Act request, but after a storm of criticism, the Department has reversed ...

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