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Construction at a standstill

Shaley Lensegrav
Tri-State Livestock News
The Denver Union Stockyards had a daily capacity of 30,000 cattle, 30,000 sheep, 20,000 hogs, and 2,000 horses and mules​ in 1908, shown in this pre-1944 photo.
Photo courtesy National Western Archive

Construction on the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline has been at a standstill after a federal judge’s ruling Nov. 8, 2018. The Canadian company is in the process of appealing the judge’s original decision.

In November of 2018, US District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the pipeline needed additional environmental reviews before proceeding with construction.

Morris’s final ruling stated that “The Court enjoins Federal Defendants and TransCanada from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities until the Department has completed a supplement to the 2014 SEIS [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] that complies with the requirements of NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] and the APA [Administrative Procedure Act].”

The current government shutdown has limited federal attorneys’ participation in hearings; however, TransCanada is seeking an appeal and had a court hearing on Monday, Jan. 14. During this most recent session, there was verbal debate, but the judge did not make a decision.

“While we believe that it is important to conduct appropriate environmental reviews, we also believe that further review will not contribute to the existing body of science that already supports pipeline construction…We respectfully urge you to take every practicable step to get this project (Keystone XL) over the finish line and workers back on the construction sites.”Letter to President Donald Trump for 44 Congressmen

After over a month of halted activity on the pipeline, forty-four senators and representatives from various states including Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, sent a letter to President Trump on Dec. 14, 2018, in support of the pipeline.

They wrote, “While we believe that it is important to conduct appropriate environmental reviews, we also believe that further review will not contribute to the existing body of science that already supports pipeline construction…We respectfully urge you to take every practicable step to get this project [Keystone XL] over the finish line and workers back on the construction sites.”

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, one of the leaders of the letter to President Trump, said, “The Keystone Pipeline has been subject to extensive environmental review and litigation, and every review has found that the pipeline will have minimal environmental impact and major economic benefits. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be held hostage environmental extremists and finish this pipeline. Nearly 7,000 jobs hang in the balance.”

In order for the project to move forward, an appeal to the judge’s original decision must be made.

Further hearings in this appeals case will determine what happens with the construction on the pipeline.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is proposed to begin in Hardisty, Alberta and end in Steele City, Nebraska. Overall, 882 miles of the XL pipeline will be on U.S. soil running through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.


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