This time a judge has ruled Trump's approval of the project failed to properly take environmental concerns into consideration.

This time a judge has ruled Trump's approval of the project failed to properly take environmental concerns into consideration.

The Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations, (CAEPLA), is a grassroots environmental group advocating on behalf of the "stewards of the land"  -- namely farmers, ranchers, woodlot and other landowners.

CAEPLA also helped get agreements done on all the Keystone projects in Canada.

All we can say at this latest heartbreaking development for TCPL is:  Dear Russ:  CAEPLA is here.  We believe we can help tackle the environmental challenges you face south of the border.  We believe we can help you get XL done to save Canada's energy industry and protect the environment in ways no anti pipeline activist ever could.  Call us.

Keystone XL setback comes at worst time for Canada's oil industry

Pipeline shortage has already sent prices of Canadian oil to record lows

Energy producers in Canada already are struggling with a shortage of pipeline space that has hammered prices for their crude.Canadian Press

A Montana federal judge’s ruling that threatens to further delay TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline comes at one of the worst possible times for the Canadian oil industry.

Energy producers in Canada already are struggling with a shortage of pipeline space that has hammered prices for their crude, sending its discount to U.S. benchmarks to the widest on record in recent weeks. The situation has Canadian drillers cutting production, shipping unprecedented amounts of oil via more-expensive rail and even turning to trucks to get their output to market as stopgap measures until new conduits come into service.

Keystone XL was seen as a major step toward solving that problem. The pipeline would have added 830,000 barrels of daily shipping capacity — about 4.2 per cent of U.S. oil demand — when it came into service, which was expected to happen in 2021. Any potential setback will make other projects, including Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 expansion and the federal government’s Trans Mountain expansion project, all the more crucial for the industry.

Delays also may send TransCanada back to oil producers or Canada’s government for assurances that the trouble of trying to push ahead with the pipeline will be worthwhile, according to Royal Bank of Canada’s Robert Kwan.

“There is a clear economic need for the project and we wonder whether TransCanada will choose to pursue the project with a stronger backstop from shippers and/or various levels of government,” Kwan said in a note.

Thursday night’s ruling is the latest set-back for the Calgary-based pipeline company in its decade-long push to construct a 1,179-mile long conduit to deliver crude from Alberta’s oil sands to a Nebraska junction, en route to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico.

TransCanada Corp says it remains committed to the oft-delayed project and is reviewing the judge’s ruling. Shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange fell by as much as 2.75 per cent in early trading on Friday.

The Indigenous Environmental Network, River Alliance and Northern Plains Resource Council filed a pair of lawsuits against the U.S. in March 2017 shortly after President Donald Trump gave his approval for the project to cross the U.S.-Canada border. TransCanada joined the litigation to defend the permit approval.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls agreed with the groups’ argument that a 2014 environmental impact assessment fell short of the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory standards.

The judge barred both TransCanada and the U.S. from “from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities” until the U.S. State Department completes a supplemental review.

In his ruling, the judge noted that the Department’s analysis fell short of a “hard look” and requires a supplement to the 2014 supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) in order to comply with its obligations under National Environmental Policy Act. They include:

• The effects of current oil prices on the viability of Keystone
• The cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta Clipper expansion and Keystone
• A survey of potential cultural resources contained in the 1,038 acres not addressed in the 2014 SEIS, and
• An updated modeling of potential oil spills and recommended mitigation measures

Morris was appointed in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama, who had refused to grant a cross-border permit for the international project. Morris has ordered it vacated.

Nebraska’s Supreme Court last week heard arguments from attorneys for landowners seeking to overturn that state’s public service commission approval of its route there.

The case is Indigenous Environmental Network v. U.S., 17-cv-00029, U.S. District Court, District of Montana (Great Falls).

With file from Financial Post staff

Pipeline Observer


Landowner-driven, CAEPLA advocates on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and other rural landowners to promote safety and environmental protection through respect for your property rights.