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Latest ruling in Keystone XL case calls for more study of environmental impact

August 24, 2018

LINCOLN - A federal judge is siding with landowners, tribal leaders and environmental groups in their challenge to the Trump administration’s approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline route through Nebraska.

Anthony Swift, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, says the State Department will have to launch another study of the potential impact of the mainline alternative route.

“The judge ruled that the environmental impact statement for Keystone XL was insufficient,” Swift says, “that the government approved the project without knowing its route and that it would have to go back and evaluate the new route through Nebraska.”

Swift says the burden is now on the feds to review the new route along with other possible environmental issues with the overall project.

“The Trump administration is going to have to go back and both evaluate the new route through Nebraska but the administration would be advised to evaluate some of the other issues that weren’t considered in the review for Keystone XL, including new information about the project’s climate impact.”

Swift says the federal judge’s ruling last week negates the approval by the Nebraska Public Service Commission in November of 2017 of the alternative Keystone XL route.

“The Nebraska approval is currently under challenge by Nebraska landowners for that very reason,” he says, “the fact that Nebraska approved a route that neither state regulators or the company had done any review for.”

Swift doesn’t expect the Trump administration to appeal the federal court decision.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Bold Alliance and four other environmental groups are all plaintiffs in the case impacted by the ruling.

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