Appeals Court rules Keystone Pipeline construction can begin

A Federal Appeals court in San Francisco handed President Trump a victory in the fight to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil out of Canada and eventually to Oklahoma and Texas.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the lawsuit that had held up construction, stating that the suit was moot because of a new presidential permit issued in March by President Trump. A lower court judge had earlier blocked construction after the State Department was ordered to redo the environmental analysis of the pipeline.

The ruling means that developer TC Energy can begin construction of the 1,179 mile pipeline from Canada to Nebraska.

Despite the ruling, some believe it might be a short victory for the Trump administration. Some tribal groups have filed suit in April as they targeted the President’s new permit.  And in recent weeks, TC Energy told investors it did not plan to start construction in 2019.

“Despite (the) ruling, we remain confident that Keystone XL will never be built,” said Doug Hayes, a senior attorney for the Sierra Club. “This proposed project has been stalled for a decade because it would be all risk and no reward and despite the Trump administration’s efforts, they cannot force this dirty tar sands pipeline on the American people.”

The Center for Biological Diversity was immediately critical of the Appeals Court ruling. It said the court was simply condoning the President’s “blatant disregard” for environmental laws.

“We will explore all available legal avenues to stop this dirty tar sands oil pipeline from ever being built and endangering our communities and climate,” said Jackie Prange, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

If the Keystone XL pipeline were ever built, it would be the second Keystone line in the U.S. The first was completed several years ago and carries out from the Cushing hub in Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast refineries.

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