GREAT FALLS- A Montana federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Keystone XL pipeline’s new approved route in Nebraska requires a full environmental review, likely causing another delay.
This week’s ruling came just two weeks after the U.S. State Department said TransCanada’s alternate route was environmentally sound.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled in favor of the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of many groups that filed suit challenging the pipeline in federal court in Great Falls, according to The Hill, an online Washington, D.C.-based newspaper.
Morris found that the route reviewed in the submitted Environmental Impact Statement is different from the new route in Nebraska that was approved earlier.
Morris also ruled the Mainline Alternative Route crosses five different counties, different bodies of water, and is longer than what was originally proposed.
Morris said Nebraska has an obligation to analyze new information relevant to the environmental impacts of its decision.
TransCanda and the state of Nebraska have yet to respond to the judge’s ruling, except to say they’re reviewing the decision.
The long-debated pipeline would connect the tar sands of Canada to markets in the United State. A portion would pass through eastern Montana near Baker.