While oil has been flowing through the southern leg of the Keystone oil pipeline in Oklahoma and Texas for a few years, attempts to win approval of the pipeline from Canada to Nebraska hit another recent roadblock.
A federal judge in Montana has ordered federal officials to review documents after environmentalists sued and accused President Trump’s administration of withholding details on the project’s approval. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris gave the government until March 21 to explain why any relevant documents should be withheld.
His ruling came in the lawsuit filed in an effort to block the 1,179-mile pipeline. The suit was filed after President Trump approved the line last year following action by former President Barack Obama to block it in 2015.
Justice Department attorneys fought the judge’s order, contending it could take six years and cost $6.3 million to go through the nearly 5 million pages of documents.
Attorney Jackie Prange with the Natural Resources Defense Council called the government’s time and expense estimate”vastly overblown” and claimed it included documents unrelated to Keystone.
“The public has a right to know what evidence and what materials were considered in making that decision (to approve the pipeline), especially when that decision has changed,”she said.