A U.S. federal judge has blocked construction of TransCanada’s $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

U.S. judge blocks construction of $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — TransCanada’s $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline project has suffered another setback after a U.S. federal judge blocked its construction to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact.

The Great Falls Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday came as the Calgary-based energy giant was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana.

Indigenous and environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the U.S. Department of State after Nebraska authorities approved an alternative route to the one TransCanada had proposed through the state.

The groups argued the U.S. State Department violated several acts in issuing a presidential permit for the pipeline without a proper environmental assessment of the changed route.

Morris said in his decision Thursday the government’s analysis didn’t fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline’s viability or include updated modelling of potential oil spills.

The proposed 1,897-kilometre pipeline would carry crude from Hardisty, Alta., to Steel City, Neb.

Two other export pipelines, the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline sold to the federal government and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement, also face uncertainty.

— With files from The Canadian Press

By The Associated Press

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