Landowners Bonnie, Mike, Jackie, and Richard Kilmurry on their farm near Aktinson, NE. (Photo: Mary Anne Andrei)

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

Ruling Deals Yet Another Setback to Proposed Dirty Fossil Fuel Project

Great Falls, MT — A federal court ruling today further delayed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by reaffirming that TransCanada cannot conduct any construction activity on the controversial tar sands pipeline and continuing to block most pre-construction field activities, including construction of worker camps.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruled in November 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.

Today, the court largely stood by that ruling, finding that TransCanada is unlikely to succeed on its appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It also ruled that TransCanada remains blocked from constructing worker camps and conducting most other pre-construction activity along the pipeline route. The court did allow TransCanada to store pipe in storage yards located off the pipeline right of way, but only on private land that has been properly surveyed and analyzed. The court noted that any investment of resources would be at the company’s own peril.

“TransCanada cannot build its risky pipeline. We stand ready to present the case to the next court as our 10-year battle moves on,” said Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance president. “Property rights, water, and the sovereign rights of Tribal Nations matter to Americans and it’s time for our country to move away from Keystone XL and move on to confronting climate change. Farmers win another round while Big Oil keeps clinging on to the past.”

“Today’s ruling does nothing to change the obvious fact that Keystone XL will never be built,” said Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes. “After a decade of trying to force this pipeline on the American people, it’s time for TransCanada to finally get the message and give up.”

“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.”

“It’s been two years since the Trump administration tried to revive this pipeline from the dead, but Keystone XL is still far from being built,” 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.”

“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.”

“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. We are pleased to see the most important elements of the enjoinder stand,” said Dena Hoff, farmer and member of Northern Plains Resource Council.