On November 8, 2018, the federal district court for the District of Montana ruled that the Trump Administration’s 2017 approval of the TransCanadaKeystone XL Pipeline was invalid because it relied on a prior environmental impact statement (EIS) that failed to fully consider the environmental consequences of approving the project.
The November 8th ruling enjoined the Trump Administration and TransCanada from moving forward with the project until the State Department completed a supplemental EIS. President Trump immediately signaled his displeasure with the ruling and indicated that the Administration will file an appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, on December 3, 2018, the State Department published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register announcing that it will comply with the court ruling and prepare a Supplemental EIS. The State Department explained that:
"On November 8, 2018, the Federal District Court for the District of Montana ordered the Department to supplement the analysis in the 2014 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Pipeline relating to greenhouse gas emissions, oil spills, cultural resources, and market analysis. In response to this ruling, the Department intends to issue the updated SEIS[.]"
On January 14, 2019, attorneys for TransCanada appeared in the Montana federal district court to seek permission to resume pre-construction work on the pipeline while it waits for the State Department to prepare the updated SEIS. Apparently anticipating a rapid EIS-drafting process, TransCanada wants to be ready to resume full construction by August 1. If it is unable to resume pre-construction activities before March 15, it argued, it will not be ready to resume full construction this year, which would in turn cause it to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. The district court has not yet issued a ruling on this latest request.