Published: Fri, July 10, 2020

Supreme Court deals major blow to Keystone XL project

Supreme Court deals major blow to Keystone XL project

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined a request from TC Energy and the Trump administration to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to proceed under Nationwide Permit 12, a key water-crossing permit for pipelines that a district court found unlawful. Without it, the project that has been heavily promoted by President Donald Trump faces more delay just as work on it had finally begun this year following years of courtroom battles.

As Bloomberg reported, the Supreme Court's ruling "means nearly all Keystone XL construction is delayed until 2021".

Last May, a federal appeals court has refused to lift the ruling of a Montana federal judge that blocks construction on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. "For more than a decade now, a powerful movement has been taking on reckless oil and gas pipelines and fighting to put Indigenous rights, a just economy, and our environment before oil company profits". The Montana District Court revoked the use of Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) for pipeline projects pending a completed environmental impact assessment on endangered species.

"Our focus was originally on Keystone, so we're very happy the court order ensures it can't move forward under this unlawful permit", said Jared Margolis, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

But the Supreme Court action allows other pipeline developers to fast-track construction by getting what is called a Nationwide Permit 12, a permitting system that had been temporarily halted by the court. The case is also a setback to the province of Alberta in Canada which has committed $5.3 billion to help fund the pipeline's construction that would bring heavy Canadian oil sands crude to the United States, reports , Bloomberg. "We're glad to see the court acknowledge that the Trump administration is not above the law and can not just ignore critical environmental protections in pursuit of building this unsafe tar sands pipeline".

It's Tuesday, July 7, and things are not looking good for the Keystone XL pipeline.

TC Energy's surprise March 31 announcement that it meant to start construction amid a global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic came after the provincial government in Alberta invested $1.1 billion to jump-start the work.

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