By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory & legal issues, ARTBA
A federal district judge in Montana Nov. 8 halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The court found the U.S. State Department’s environmental analysis of the project was insufficient. The agency had issued a presidential permit allowing construction to begin on March 24, 2017.
The court’s decision does not stop the project completely, however, the State Department must now conduct a more thorough review of multiple issues, including climate change and endangered species impacts before construction can continue.
The project had been delayed multiple times by the Obama administration, but a January 2017 executive order by President Donald Trump expedited the approval. The pipeline is projected to transport 83,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to U.S. refineries.
ARTBA and its industry allies have supported the pipeline, citing the significant economic benefits and job creation opportunities in the transportation construction sector. A Wisconsin-based ARTBA member was awarded a contract for constructing 371 miles of pipeline, but that work cannot begin until the entire project is approved.