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The 9th Circuit Refuses to Allow TransCanada’s Proposed $8 Billion Pipeline from Canada to the US Gulf Coast

On March 15, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an injunction order from the lower court, which stops the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline. This is another hold up in the $8 billion dollar project, which TransCanada has been trying to get going for over a decade now.

The Multi-Billion Dollar Pipeline

The 1,200-mile, $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline
would one day be able to deliver up to 830,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from western Canada to US’s Gulf Coast refineries.
The pipeline is estimated to be around 875 miles long and a portion of the pipeline would be built through Montana,including portions under three of Montana’s major rivers. The pipeline was initially blocked by the Obama administration and was later given a green light by the State Department under Trump’s administration.

In March 2017, the Indigenous Environmental Network, North Coast Rivers Alliance, Northern Plains Resource Council in Billings, and Sierra
Club sued Trump’s State Department for issuing the green light permit, arguing environmental laws were not followed in approving the pipeline
because there was not an updated and complete environmental impact statement. The Montana federal court agreed, issuing an injunction pending TransCanada providing an updated environmental impact statement.

The Ruling

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling from the lower court, holding that an updated and complete environmental impact
statement is necessary before construction can proceed. Some of the requirements for TransCanada to address in its environmental impact
statement are: (1) the need to address secretary of state John Kerry’s concerns about the link between the pipeline and climate change,(2)
the need for a survey of Native American cultural resources that could be impacted, (3) an evaluation of the cumulative effect of greenhouse gas emissions, and (4) the creation of a comprehensive model outlining potential spills and their impact on local water.

Houston business attorneys & residents are starting to wonder if the pipeline will ever be completed, because it is expected to provide jobs and other opportunities to the energy capital of the world.

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