A group of 44 Republican members of Congress from the House and Senate sent President Trump a letter Friday asking that he make every possible effort to get the Keystone XL pipeline “over the finish line.” The letter reads in part:
A recent harmful federal court decision in Montana has brought real and immediate consequences, halting critical preconstruction activities and invalidating the analysis that underlies the approval issued by your Administration. The ruling also called for more lengthy environmental review…
While we believe that it is important to conduct appropriate environmental reviews, we also believe that further review will not contribute to the existing body of science that already supports pipeline construction and instead will have a significant impact on our rural communities.
Last month a federal judge in Montana halted progress on construction of the Keystone XL pipeline saying the Trump administration did not do a thorough job of evaluating its environmental impact. From CNBC:
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris’ ruling late on Thursday came in a lawsuit that several environmental groups filed against the U.S. government in 2017, soon after President Donald Trump announced a presidential permit for the project.
Morris wrote in his ruling that a U.S. State Department environmental analysis “fell short of a ‘hard look”’ at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources…
In Thursday’s ruling, Morris ordered the government to issue a more thorough environmental analysis before the project can move forward
Judge Morris, as you might have guessed, is an Obama appointee. Last week Morris clarified his earlier ruling to say that all pre-construction activity must halt. From KTVH in Montana:
Friday’s decision further curtailed those pre-construction activities to include planning and other activities related to developing a full environmental review. All physical construction is blocked.
In his ruling, Morris stated that pre-construction activity could create “bureaucratic momentum” that would discourage other federal agencies from rejecting the project.
God forbid the bureaucracy should have any momentum. This is clearly a delaying action meant to sideline this at least another year. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club is touting its success in a blog post today:
This fall, we finally got a ruling in that case, and the court agreed with us: the Trump administration failed to adequately study the environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline. The judge vacated the State Department’s approval, blocked any construction on the project, and sent the administration back to the drawing board on their environmental impact statement, which normally takes over a year to complete…
Keystone XL has faced huge public opposition for the last decade, and our legal team is making sure that opposition isn’t going anywhere. Now, more than ever, it’s clear that TransCanada’s dirty pipeline plans will never be a reality. It’s time for Wells Fargo and other banks to get that message and invest their customers’ money into a clean energy future, not more dangerous pipelines.
These people are extremists who don’t want any oil or gas to be removed from the ground despite the fact that replacing them would raise the cost of energy (and everything that depends on it) for everyone.
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