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Montana Judge Puts Brakes On Keystone XL

Posted on Friday, 9th November 2018 @ 08:25 PM by Text Size A | A | A

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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Representatives from Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, traveled to Cambridge, Iowa, in October to present a series of $20,000 checks to emergency management departments in six counties. The money was, in part, an acknowledgement of the months of anti-pipeline protests that had taxed local agencies during construction, but it was also a nod to the possibility of environmental contamination. One of the counties had pledged to use its check to purchase “HazMat operations and decontamination training/supplies.” Less than a month later, in Cambridge, the Iowa section of the Dakota Access pipeline would experience its first spill.

TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) existing Keystone pipeline has leaked substantially more oil, and more often, in the United States than indicated in risk assessments the company provided to regulators before the project began operating in 2010, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.

TransCanada received its final required pipeline route approval, winning Nebraska’s permission to build its long-delayed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline across the state… just days after a 5,000 barrel spill in South Dakota shut the pipeline. The decision will almost certainly be challenged in court.

Friday, November 17, 2017Keystone Oil Pipeline Leaks in South Dakota

TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO) shut part of its Keystone oil pipeline system after a 5,000-barrel leak in South Dakota, the company said on Thursday, four days before neighboring Nebraska was set to decide on the company’s long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. Opponents of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline seized on the spill, saying it highlighted the risks posed by the XL project – which has become a symbol for environmentalists of fossil-fuel pollution and global warming.

It’s official: moments ago TransCanada said the U.S. Department of State issued a presidential permit for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, ending a multi-year controversial, at times acrimonious debate over the future of the pipeline. The pipeline linking Canadian oil sands to U.S. refiners had been blocked by Barack Obama, who said the pipeline would do nothing to reduce fuel prices for U.S. motorists and would contribute emissions linked to global warming.

With environmentalists already furious at Donald Trump for his recent executive orders to reincarnate the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, their anger is set to overflow following news that the completion of the latter may be just a matter of months, if not weeks. As Reuters reports, while the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline is nearly complete, just one “hotly contested” section under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe that’s been the topic of massive protests, remains unbuilt. The tribe has been concerned that digging the pipeline under a section of the Missouri River would affect the area’s drinking water as well as the supply for 17 million Americans living downstream. A final easement is required for Dakota Access to cross beneath Lake Oahe.

In a move that is sure to cause a firestorm of controversy, Donald Trump signed Executive Orders at 11 a.m. EST, advancing the Dakota Access Pipeline as well as the Keystone XL. According to Reuters, U.S. President Donald Trump signed two executive actions on Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, an administration official said, rolling back key Obama administration environmental policies in favor of expanding energy infrastructure.

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