Keystone XL Prep Work Resumes Despite Court-Ordered Review

WASHINGTON/VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A federal court judge who ordered another environmental review of Keystone XL pipeline told TransCanada it can resume some U.S. pre-construction activities that had been blocked by his initial ruling, Reuters reported.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company last week asked U.S. District Judge Brian Morris for permission to resume some activity on the Keystone XL project, including project development work and stakeholder meetings. 

Morris' approval does not allow physical field work like moving pipe and equipment, preparing work camp sites or undertaking road upgrades at this time, TransCanda spokesman Terry Cunha said. Morris is set to rule on that work after Dec. 5.

A U.S. State Department official said Friday the agency will conduct the supplemental environmental impact statement for Keystone XL, as Morris ruled on Nov. 8.  The move could lead to additional delays of the project, but TransCanada has not provided an updated estimate of its completion date.

"It is too soon to say what the injunction will mean to the timeline of the Keystone XL pipeline, but we remain confident the project will be built," Cunha said.

The ruling by Morris, of the U.S. District Court in Montana, blocked construction of Keystone XL, which would bring heavy crude from Canada's oil sands to the United States. The pipeline would originate in Alberta and transport up to 830,000 bpd of crude through a half dozen states to terminals on the Gulf Coast.

Morris said in his ruling that previous environmental analysis of Keystone XL fell short of a "hard look" at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources.

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