A U.S. Court judge in Austin has ruled against an environmental group and said the nearly-finished $2.3 billion Permian Highway pipeline can continue.
Sierra Club in April challenged federal approval of the 428-mile Kinder Morgan Inc pipeline, alleging regulators reviews under a streamlined process were faulty. The line’s path crosses areas with two endangered species and some 400 wetlands, lawyers wrote reported Reuters.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which issued permits for the Permian Highway pipeline, said no further reviews are needed. The project is more than 85% mechanically complete, Kinder Morgan has said. A spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
“We are disappointed that the court declined to put an immediate stop to this illegal construction, and we are evaluating our options,” said Sierra Club attorney Joshua Smith.
Legal challenges have delayed the Dakota Access, Keystone XL, and Trans Mountain oil pipelines, and led to a cancellation of the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline.
The proposed Kinder Morgan line would bring 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from West Texas to the Gulf Coast. Service could begin in January.
U.S. District Court for Western District of Texas Judge Robert Pitman denied the request for a preliminary injunction saying the group did not show continued construction would cause irreparable harm to landowners or endangered species.
“Unfortunately, granting an injunction at this state of the pipeline’s completion would not ‘unring the bell,'” he wrote in his decision, adding Sierra Club “failed to establish a definitive threat of future harm.”
The pipeline is owned by Kinder Morgan, Exxon Mobil, Altus Midstream and Blackstone Group’s EagleClaw Midstream Ventures.
The case is Sierra Club v U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, No. 20-cv-00460.