NEW YORK - A federal judge halted construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline on Thursday, in a blow to the Trump administration and a win for environmental groups.
US District Judge Brian Morris found that the US government's use of a 2014 environmental review to justify issuing a presidential permit for construction of the cross-border pipeline violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, according to the court order issued Thursday.
"The Court enjoins Federal Defendants and TransCanada from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities," the court document reads, "until the Department has completed a supplement to the 2014 SEIS (Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement) that complies with the requirements of NEPA and the APA."
Environmental groups involved in bringing the 2017 lawsuit celebrated the decision.
"Keystone XL would be a disaster for the climate and for the people and wildlife of this country," said Jackie Prange, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the plaintiffs. "As the court has made clear yet again, the Trump administration's flawed and dangerous proposal should be shelved forever."
In March 2017, President Donald Trump's administration issued a permit approving construction of the pipeline, reversing the Obama administration's decision to block the controversial project.
The White House has not responded to CNN's request for comment on the judge's order.
The permit approval followed years of intense debate over the pipeline amid steadfast opposition from environmental groups.
They argued that the pipeline would support the extraction of crude oil from oil sands, a process that pumps more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than standard crude oil extraction. They also opposed the pipeline because it would run across one of the world's largest underground deposits of fresh water.
Native American groups argued the pipeline would cut across their sovereign lands.
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