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Montana judge blocks contruction of Keystone XL pipeline

Last Updated Nov 9, 2018 at 5:50 am EST

A yard in Gascoyne, ND., which has hundreds of kilometres of pipes stacked inside it that are supposed to go into the Keystone XL pipeline, are shown shown on April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta

TransCanada’s $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline project has suffered another setback after a U.S. federal judge blocked its construction to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact.

The Great Falls Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday came as the Calgary-based energy giant was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana.

Indigenous and environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the U.S. Department of State after Nebraska authorities approved an alternative route to the one TransCanada had proposed through the state.

The groups argued the U.S. State Department violated several acts in issuing a presidential permit for the pipeline without a proper environmental assessment of the changed route.

Morris said in his decision Thursday the government’s analysis didn’t fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline’s viability or include updated modelling of potential oil spills.

The proposed 1,897-kilometre pipeline would carry crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Steel City, Neb.

Two other export pipelines, the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline sold to the federal government and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement, also face uncertainty.