A U.S. judge has revoked a key permit for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that will cause the project to be delayed indefinitely.
According to the Guardian, the permit was given out without properly assessing the impact on endangered species.
A coalition of environmental groups challenged the permit and yesterday, a federal judge in Montana ordered all filling and dredging activities on the pipeline be stopped until proper consultations are conducted.
"The ruling revokes the water-crossing permit needed to complete construction of the pipeline and is expected to cause major delays to the divisive project," the Guardian notes.
The Keystone XL was proposed to transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska and then through to refineries on the Gulf coast.
For years, the Council of Canadians has opposed the project because it would enable further expansion of the climate-polluting tar sands, violate Indigenous rights, and threaten waterways with a diluted bitumen spill.
The Council of Canadians traveled to Washington several times to join protests against Keystone XL, including calling on the Canadian embassy to demand that they stop lobbying for the pipeline.
This court ruling echoes other similar rulings striking down fossil fuel projects for lack of consultation. Whether it be the abandoned Energy East pipeline, Alton Gas' storage project, the Trans Mountain pipeline and others, legal challenges are bringing to light when corners are cut and regulated public consultation is either insufficient or bypassed entirely.
The Canadian national energy board approved the Keystone XL pipeline in 2010, but the project was suspended in 2015 after then U.S. President Barack Obama refused to grant the required presidential permits amid growing public outcry from a coalition of Native Americans, First Nations, ranchers and farmers, and environmentalists.
Donald Trump issued the permits within days of taking office, stating that only American steel could be used in the work.
Construction began earlier this month in Montana. Earlier this month, Alberta Premier Jason Kenny announced the province would invest $1.5 billion in the project and provide a $6-billion loan guarantee, to accelerate construction. In exchange, an agreement was made for the transport of 575,000 barrels of oil daily.
Keystone's legal challenges aren't finished. The company faces another legal challenge this month when Indigenous communities will be back in court requesting an injunction to stop construction in light of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Guardian, "the court will decide whether construction, which the plaintiffs argue will bring thousands of out-of-state workers to remote areas already ill-equipped to deal with the public health crisis, should be suspended."