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Industry News / Infrastructure

February 7, 2019

Trump Admin. Appeals Keystone XL Pipeline Injunction

Trump Admin. Appeals Keystone XL Pipeline Injunction

The Trump administration is appealing a recent court order that temporarily halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. U.S. District Court for the District of Montana Judge Brian Morris last year ordered a stop to the long-embattled oil transport line through Canada and Nebraska while the State Department reworks its review.

The government's appeal, filed Friday, follows appeals by both TransCanada Corp. and environmental challengers, who said they may fight some parts of the November injunction.

Morris found that the Trump administration's State Department had failed to justify why the agency decided to issue a cross-border permit after the Obama administration blocked the project. He called for more analysis of the pipeline's climate impacts and discussion of where the project fits in the current oil market.

The judge, an Obama appointee, simultaneously quashed some environmental challenges, such as a claim that TransCanada fell short of its duties under the Endangered Species Act in its plans to mitigate impacts to animals in the pipeline's path.

The cases now head to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has blocked several Trump administration policies. President Trump, who said the Morris order was politically motivated, has also accused the West Coast court of exhibiting liberal bias.

Following the Keystone XL injunction, Trump vowed to nominate 9th Circuit judges who would issue rulings more favorable to his administration.

His recent round of picks for the court includes Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP attorney Daniel Collins, who defended Shell Oil Co. and other energy operators against climate change challenges.


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