In a rare victory for environmentalists, the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline is on pause after a federal judge vacated a presidential permit Trump signed last year. The judge’s reason? The permit’s disregard for “inconvenient facts,” including the pipeline’s impacts on the climate. Former President Barack Obama rejected construction of this pipeline in 2015 after indigenous and environmental opponents made a big stink about it. The proposed 1,179-mile long pipeline would travel from the tar sand fields in Alberta, Canada, all the way to Nebraska. It’d cross historic tribal lands and threaten waterways, opponents argued. Concerns intensified after the project’s sister pipeline, Keystone, spilled more than 400,000 gallons of oil over South Dakota lands in November 2017. The possibility of an oil spill was one of U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris’ issues with the Keystone XL. Unsurprisingly, Trump and his administration half-assed their environmental analyses on the crude oil pipeline, so Morris told them to whip up a supplement to Keystone XL’s 2014 environmental impact statement (EIS) that includes “an updated modeling of potential oil spills and recommended mitigation measures,” as stated in the 54-page court order. Perhaps more importantly, he also ordered the supplement to detail the energy project’s greenhouse gas emissions’ impacts on climate change, noting that the administration failed to provide a “reasoned explanation” for its conclusion that Keystone XL’s impacts on climate would be inconsequential. When Obama killed the project, greenhouse gas emissions had everything to do with it. Sure, a new president can reverse previous… [Read full story]
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