Montana federal judge allows company to move ahead with some work on the Keystone XL pipeline

The federal judge who blocked TransCanada’s permit to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline is easing somewhat on his ruling, now allowing preliminary work to continue.

Otherwise, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Montana says his order blocking construction remains in effect. The original order was issued Nov. 8 in which he issued an injunction.

However on Wednesday, he said he would clarify his order to allow TransCanada to go ahead with engineering and planning activities, confirm shipper contracts, meet with different groups and acquire equipment, permits and land rights.

The judge ordered a new environmental review after saying the Trump administration had not fully considered the effects of the pipeline according to the Associated Press.

TransCanada had argued it wants to keep that preliminary work on schedule that that it can be prepared to start pipeline construction as early as mid-February.

If the pipeline is ever constructed, it would eventually move oil southward to Cushing and connect to an existing Keystone pipeline that has been operational in Oklahoma and Texas for the past four years.