Indian tribal and global warming protesters have long been opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline and a federal judge has temporarily given them the stop sign they wanted
Indian activists protested and held for weeks in 2017 after President Donald Trump signed executive orders to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects
The State Department of the President will now be forced to base his decision to give priority to the US economy and energy independence on the arguments of activists about the environment and tribal sovereignty
A federal judge on Thursday stopped construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and argued that the government of President Donald Trump had not sufficiently explained why it had lifted a ban on the project.
The judgment of Judge Brian Morris of the federal district court for the district of Montana shared a stinging setback against Trump and the oil industry and was a great victory for conservationists and indigenous groups.
Trump granted a license for the $ 8 billion channel intended to extend from Canada to Texas, just a few days after he took office last year. He said that it would create jobs and stimulate the development of infrastructure.
Protesters marched towards Trump Tower while protesting against the construction of oil pipelines two weeks after the president took office
In addition, the administration destroyed a statement by President Barack Obama in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely based on the environment, in particular the US contribution to climate change.
The analysis of a cross-border project like this is done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The same environmental analysis that the department carried out before the license was refused in 2015 was ignored when the department returned last year and approved the application, the court argued.
A desk can not simply ignore opposing or uncomfortable factual findings it has made in the past, nor can it ignore uncomfortable facts when it writes in a clean slate & # 39 ;, Morris wrote.
He added: & # 39; Instead, the department simply omitted previous factual findings regarding climate change to support the exchange rate. & # 39;
The judge also argued that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not properly taken into account factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative effects of greenhouse gases from the pipeline and the risk of oil loss.
The verdict of Thursday is temporary and requires the government to carry out a more thorough assessment of the impact of the project on the climate, cultural resources and nature. The Trump administration can appeal to a higher court.
The pipeline is designed to run from tar sands oil fields in the Canadian province of Albert, via Montana, South Dakota and part of Nebraska, to existing facilities in the latter state.
epa07152964 (FILE) – Pipes to be used for a section of the Keystone XL pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico is in a warehouse at TransCanada Pipe Yard
From there it would flow to Oklahoma and to the coast of Texas Gulf.
The American piece to be constructed would be 875 miles long.
The pipeline was prepared by TransCanada. The start of the American leg would start next year.
Environmental and indigenous groups filed a complaint against TransCanada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March to stop the project.
One of the prosecutors, the Sierra Club, welcomed the decision of the judge.
Today's statement makes it clear once and for all that it is time for TransCanada to abandon their Keystone XL pipe problem & # 39; said Doug Hayes, senior lawyer of Sierra Club, in a statement.
"The Trump government tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can not ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities. & # 39;