TransCanada must halt preconstruction work for the Keystone XL pipeline while the controversial project’s future is being decided, according a federal court ruling issued Dec. 7.
Judge Brian Morris, who blocked the Trump Administration’s construction permits for the $8.3 billion project in November, rejected TransCanada’s request to continue preparing sites in northern Montana for pipe storage and construction camps while the U.S. State Department conducts another environmental review of the 1,179-mile cross border pipeline. Morris did allow general engineering and planning work to continue, as well as activities such as material purchases, pursuit of outstanding permits, and engagement with communities and government agencies.
TransCanada has expressed support that the Keystone XL will be eventually move forward, despite Morris’ ruling that the State Department failed to provide sufficient justification for reversing its previous policy on climate change in early 2017. The agency also failed to fully assess several other issues, including potential project impacts on protected Native American cultural resources.
Meanwhile, the Nebraska Supreme Court is considering the legality of a Keystone XL route change approved last year by the Nebraska's Public Service Commission. A ruling is expected early next year.