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US federal court judge halts construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline

Last Updated Nov 9, 2018 at 10:54 am MDT

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'Environmentalists are extremely selective about what kind of oil they are going to oppose': petroleum analyst

Environmentalists are lauding the federal court order

WASHINGTON (660 NEWS) – It is another major hurdle for Alberta pipelines.

A judge in the United States has halted construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline citing environmental concerns.

The pipeline would shuttle as much as 830,000 barrels a day of crude from Alberta through a half-dozen states to terminals on the Gulf Coast.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris essentially delayed the $8 billion project to study its environmental impact. Environmentalists and some Native American groups sued to stop the project, citing property rights and potential oil spills.

Environmentalists are lauding the federal court order.

Becky Mitchell, chairwoman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a plaintiff in the case, said that the organization is thrilled with the ruling.

Mike Hudema with Greenpeace issued this statement to 660 NEWS.

“This is a significant setback for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline project and big win for Indigenous defenders, the environment, and for the thousands of people who have been fighting this pipeline for nearly a decade. This should also be huge warning sign to the Liberal government about the inevitable legal hurdles they will face if they continue to rush and curtail the Trans Mountain assessment process. The science is clear. We can’t afford new fossil fuel infrastructure if we want to save the planet. New tar sands pipeline projects threaten Indigenous rights, put drinking water and communities at risk, accelerate the climate crisis and move us in the wrong direction. If we are serious about halving emissions from fossil fuels in the next 10 years and avoiding climate catastrophe, we must drop any new tar sands pipelines, full stop.”

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague believes this is a major setback for Canadian oil and a sign of hypocrisy from environmentalists. He said while the U.S. will continue to import oil from Russia, Venezuela, and OPEC, Canadian oil will be singled out.

“Environmentalists in this kind of circumstance are extremely selective about what kind of oil they are going to oppose. They don’t like Canadian oil, they don’t like the fact that it is heavy oil.”

McTeague believes Keystone XL has support across the political spectrum in the United States, but it only takes one judge to pause the project.

“You can win the entire battle 99.9 per cent of the argument. It’s the 0.1 per cent that causes these things to go afoul.”

He expects this court battle will not end soon.

“I think it is likely to see a several month delay in that jurisdiction so one will have to wait to see that overturned,” said McTeague. “This can’t continue. The longer it continues, and we tolerate this nonsense, the more adverse effect it will have not only on the federation as a whole but more importantly on the economy.”

With Files from the Canadian Press