Back in March, President Donald Trump signed a presidential permit to initiate the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline with a facility in Montana, the building of which has been delayed by a federal court order and an injunction.

Needless to say, the green justice warriors went forward with suits against the construction based on the old permitting. Now, in a decision that may shock many here, a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel nullified a key barrier to the construction of the project, arguing that it no longer applies after the Trump administration replaced a permit earlier this year.

The court ruled Thursday night in favor of the Trump administration and TransCanada Corporation’s motion to dismiss.

The ruling sided with arguments that the old permit for the pipeline, which was replaced by the Trump administration in March, is no longer valid and therefore the injunction associated with it also no longer applies.

The action hands a victory to the Trump administration, which has long fought to finish construction of the international pipeline. It also opens up the door to restarting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was halted in courts in the fall in part due to failure to properly account for the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from the construction.

Trump in May signed a presidential permit as a way to jump-start the delayed construction of the 1,179-mile pipeline. The order superseded a March 2017 order.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I hereby revoke that March 23, 2017, permit,” Trump wrote in the order.

I would argue that Trump’s foresight in removing the old permit should readily dispel any notion he isn’t up to the job of President mentally . . . but I digress.

The ruling is a win for Americans who like copious amounts of energy and employment. It is also a win for Canada.

The pipeline would ship up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the tar sands of Alberta through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, where it would tie in to existing pipelines to carry the crude to U.S. refineries.

The ruling Thursday was a victory for TC Energy, a Calgary, Alberta-based company that wants to build the pipeline, though company officials have said it already missed the 2019 construction season because of court delays.

“We are pleased with the ruling,” TC Energy spokesman Matthew John said. “We look forward to advancing the project.”

Despite the ruling, it will be a while before construction actually begins.

But it’s not clear whether the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling Thursday will have any immediate effect.

TC Energy, the company that wants to build the line, previously said it is too late to begin work this year.

Of course, the green justice warriors plan to respond to this legal decision is exactly as we have come expect:

Attorney Stephan Volker, who represents the Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance, said he would request another judge’s order to block the project if he thought there was a chance of construction beginning immediately.

Representatives of a half-dozen other environmental groups vowed to keep fighting in court and predicted the pipeline will never be built.

“We shouldn’t forget the underlying issue here — global warning,” Volker said. “We’re trying to save the Earth. I wish the federal government would pay attention to the science and do its job.”

Someone should send Volker tickets to Glacier National Park.

Meanwhile, enjoy all the winning.

 
 
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