Cathie and Tom Genung, landowners in Holt County, NE near the Elkhorn River. Tom is chair of the Nebraska Easement Action Team landownwers’ collective. (Photo: Mary Anne Andrei)

Judge Denies TransCanada Request for Pre-Construction Work on Keystone XL Pipeline

Ruling Deals Yet Another Setback to Proposed Dirty Fossil Fuel Project

Great Falls, MT — Today, a federal judge reaffirmed that TransCanada cannot conduct any pre-construction field activities on its proposed Keystone XL pipeline. This ruling means that construction on the controversial tar sands pipeline will continue to be delayed.

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruled that the Trump administration violated bedrock U.S. environmental laws when approving a federal permit for the pipeline. The ruling blocked any construction while the government revises its environmental review.

The court today clarified that the company can continue planning activities and surveys necessary to revise the environmental review documents and maintain security efforts, but rejected TransCanada’s request to continue pre-construction activities.

“Farmers and ranchers thank the judge for seeing through TransCanada’s transparent power grab. Not an ounce of steel should be moved, given this foreign company does not possess a federal permit,” said Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance president. “The Trump administration keeps thumbing their noses at the concerns of rural communities. We want our property rights and water protected, yet all the Trump administration cares about is aiding a foreign oil corporation.”

“We strongly support the enjoinder by Judge Morris prohibiting any further construction of the Keystone XL pipeline until an adequate and thorough Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is conducted and the permit is approved,” said Dena Hoff, farmer and member of Northern Plains Resource Council. “Implicit in the ruling by Judge Morris is the notion that the KXL pipeline has not proven to be safe or beneficial. As a result, allowing TransCanada to continue efforts towards construction, such as by constructing ‘man camps’ or pipeyards, is not in the public interest. The only activities that should be permitted are those that allow the State Department to conduct a thorough and adequate environmental impact statement.”

“Somehow TransCanada still hasn’t gotten the message that Keystone XL is a lost cause,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes. “We’ve held off construction of this dirty tar sands pipeline for a decade because it would be a bad deal for the American people, and today’s ruling is yet another reminder that it will never be built.”

“This ruling ensures TransCanada cannot threaten communities and habitat along the pipeline route while further environmental reviews are conducted,” said Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If the Trump administration takes an honest look at Keystone XL’s impacts, it won’t be able to justify this horrible climate-killing project.”

“Keystone XL cannot be built unless and until the Trump administration complies with the law. So far, we’ve seen no indication that it plans to do so,” said Jackie Prange, a senior attorney at Natural Resource Defense Council. “Today’s decision is one more victory for the rule of law over this reckless and risky project.”

“It’s simple. If the court says ‘no construction’, you don’t get to start digging. TransCanada’s attempt to skirt the law is corporate bullying at its worst,” said Marcie Keever, Legal Director at Friends of the Earth. “TransCanada’s willingness to push the rules in a rush to build this dirty pipeline is deeply concerning and speaks directly to the corporation’s effort to bypass environmental safeguards. As the company continues to push the law, we will to do everything we can to stop this climate-destroying, water-polluting, likely oil-spilling mess of a project.”

232 – Suppl Order Re Motion to Amend