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Judge confirms ruling against Keystone XL pipeline

Posted at 3:17 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 17:17:42-04

The developers of the Keystone XL pipeline suffered another blow in federal court this week when a judge refused to drop his order canceling a key permit.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls ruled Monday that the majority of his April 15 ruling will remain in place. That action blocked developer TC Energy's permit to allow dredging work across U.S. waterways to build the pipeline.

Morris ruled last month the Army Corps of Engineers did not consider the risks to endangered species and habitat in granting that permit in 2017.

The ruling does not block construction of the controversial Keystone XL, but will likely delay the $8 billion project further.

Morris made his ruling in a case brought by Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council and other conservation groups against TC Energy and the federal government.

The pipeline to transport Canadian tar sands oil through several U.S. states, including Montana, to Gulf Coast refineries has been pending since 2008.

TC Energy says it plans to appeal.

The company has started construction of a small stretch of pipeline at the U.S.-Canada border. That section is not near water and is unaffected by Morris' ruling.