A federal judge blocked the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline Thursday, saying the Trump administration’s justification for approving it last year was incomplete.
In rejecting the permit, Judge Morris relied mainly on arguing that State, the agency that analyzed the project, didn’t properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from Keystone and the Alberta Clipper pipeline and the risk of oil spills.
“The major spills that occurred between 2014 and 2017 qualify as significant. The department would have evaluated the spills in the 2014 [environmental review] had the information been available,” wrote Morris, whom Obama nominated to the court.
The judge also said that State didn’t properly justify its switch from rejecting the pipeline in 2015 under the Obama administration to approving it in 2017 under Trump.
TransCanada and State did not respond to requests for comment. The Canadian company had planned to start construction work next year.
The Trump administration or TransCanada could appeal Morris’s ruling to the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.