Judge Orders New Federal Review of Keystone XL Pipeline
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. State Department to conduct a more thorough review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline's proposed pathway after Nebraska state regulators changed the route, raising the possibility of further delays to a project first proposed in 2008.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Montana said in a ruling Wednesday that the State Department must supplement its 2014 environmental impact study of the project to consider the new route. Morris declined to strike down the federal permit for the project, approved by President Donald Trump in March 2017.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission rejected pipeline developer TransCanada's preferred route in November 2017 but approved a different pathway that stretches farther to the east. The "mainline alternative" route is five miles longer than the company's preferred route, cuts through six different Nebraska counties and runs parallel to an existing TransCanada-owned pipeline for 89 miles.
State Department officials "have yet to analyze the mainline alternative route," Morris wrote in his ruling. The State Department has "the obligation to analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision."
Last month, the State Department declared the pipeline would not have a major impact on Nebraska's water, land or wildlife. The report said the company could mitigate any damage caused.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.