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Environmental groups seeking to block new permit for Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted at 8:27 PM, Jul 01, 2019

GREAT FALLS- A coalition of environmental groups has filed another federal lawsuit to block the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, arguing the federal government failed to properly evaluate the project’s impact on nearby waterways.

The Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council joined the Sierra Club and four other environmental groups in the lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls.

The environmental groups are seekingto block a federal permit granted in March that the Trump administration had argued was not subject to court review.

The plaintiffs argue that the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline crosses hundreds rivers, streams and wetlands in several states, which should trigger an evaluation of environmental impacts.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because the arguments aren’t new. Morris sided with environmentalists in late 2018 that the administration had failed to properly evaluate the project, essentially killing that permit effort.

Morris only lifted his injunction against construction after the Trump administration pulled the old permit in favor of the new one. Morris saidthe injuction was “moot.”

Developer TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada Corp., is seeking to build the pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta, through Montana and South Dakota, before connecting to an existing line in Nebraska.