The Sierra Club celebrated the victory saying it was time to end the dream of building the pipeline. It is unclear if the Trump administration will appeal the ruling.
On Thursday, a federal judge in Montana blocked the Keystone XL oil pipeline and President Trump’s permit for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, which Trump signed within days of taking office in January 2017. The Keystone XL is designed to transport heavy crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, then connect with another pipeline to travel to Illinois.
Judge Brian Morris of the District Court for the District of Montana, who was nominated to his position by former President Barack Obama, ruled that the Trump administration’s reversal of Obama’s denial to give the pipeline a permit lacked proper justification. Morris claimed that the State Department, which analyzed the pipeline, “simply discarded” climate change concerns related to the project.
Morris stated that the State Department did not factor in low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases and the risk of oil spills when it executed its analysis. He said, “The major spills that occurred between 2014 and 2017 qualify as significant. The department would have evaluated the spills in the 2014 [environmental review] had the information been available.”
Morris added, ““The department’s 2017 conclusory analysis that climate-related impacts from Keystone subsequently would prove inconsequential and its corresponding reliance on this conclusion as a centerpiece of its policy change required the department to provide a ‘reasoned explanation’ … The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.”