Another Pipeline Hits a Legal Snag in Federal Court

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 17, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's been a bad couple of weeks for two American pipelines.

Federal judges shut down part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and another judge stalled the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipelines are not connected, but the court decisions have a common thread.

As all the judges said, everybody needs to slow down so we don't harm the environment.

Keystone XL Pipeline

Judge Brian Morris pushed back construction on an $8 million project to build the Keystone XL by ordering an environmental review. 

The government has an "obligation to analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision," the judge said in Indigenous Environmental Network v. United States Department of State.

Mark Hefflinger, spokesperson for a group of ranchers and tribal groups, said it's time for TransCanada to abandon the project.

"The court saw through the sham fast-track environmental review that TransCanada and the State Department were trying to shove past Nebraska landowners and Tribal Nations, and ordered them to go back and conduct a thorough and legal review," he said.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Meanwhile, an appeals court threw out a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said the permit was inadequate to protect the environment.

"This is an example of what happens when dangerous projects are pushed through based on politics rather than science," said D.J. Gerken, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. "This pipeline project was flawed from the start."

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