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Judge mostly upholds ruling against pipeline permit

Protesters unveil an inflatable mock pipeline during a protest against the KXL pipeline at the Reflecting Pool on the Nationals Mall in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2014. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Protesters unveil an inflatable mock pipeline during a protest against the KXL pipeline at the Reflecting Pool on the Nationals Mall in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2014. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Monday ruled largely in favor of upholding an earlier court's decision to prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using a fast-track approval permit to construct the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline without conducting new analysis of its environmental impact.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris upholds an April 15 decision in support of a coalition of conservation and landowner groups who challenged the U.S. Army Corps, TC Energy, the state of Montana and American Gas Association over the Trump administration's approval of Nationwide Permit 12, a blanket approval for construction of similar projects concerning water crossings.

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The coalition argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to properly analyze the project's effects on endangered species when the permit was approved.

On Monday, Morris narrowed the original ruling, however, to allow some projects to proceed.

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"The Trump administration has repeatedly violated the law in their relentless pursuit of seeing Keystone XL and other dirty fossil fuel infrastructure built, and we're glad to see the court refuse to bend to pressure from the administration not to hold them accountable," Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes said in a statement. "Keystone XL would devastate communities, wildlife and clean drinking water. Today's ruling is yet another victory in the fight to ensure that it is never built."

The controversial Keystone pipeline project is expected to run more than 1,200 miles from Steel City, Neb., into the Canadian province of Alberta and deliver 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day into the United States.

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