Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"The Trump administration has repeatedly violated the law in its relentless pursuit of seeing Keystone XL built, and it would have been unconscionable to allow this pipeline to be built through rivers, streams and wetlands while it remains tied up in court," said Doug Hayes, a senior attorney with Sierra Club, following the ruling by the Ninth Circuit. (Photo: Tar Sands Blockade)

In Latest Legal Blow to Trump and Dirty Energy, Federal Appeals Court Upholds Block on Keystone XL Permit

"Contrary to what the Trump administration has argued, the law is clear. We won't sacrifice imperiled species so giant corporations can profit from the dirty fossil fuels that pollute our waters and climate."

Jon Queally

In another legal victory for opponents of Keystone XL and similar pipelines, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that suspended a federal fast-track permit for the controversial tar sands project that campaigners for nearly a decade have opposed as a climate-destroying effort of the first order.

Siding with the previous ruling and against the Trump administration, the court's ruling said the government and fossil fuel companies behind the project "have not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits and probability of irreparable harm to warrant a stay pending appeal."

Last month, as Common Dreams reported at the time, the U.S. District Court in Montana ruled that the Trump administration's Army Corps of Engineers violated the Endangered Species Act when it issued what became "Nationwide Permit 12." The ruling by that court vacated the Trump-backed permit for Keystone XL and also prohibited the Corps from replicating use of the fast-tracked approval process for other similar projects.

While Bloomberg reported the ruling as "a major blow to the energy industry," climate campaigners celebrated it as confirmation that Keystone XL is rightly recognized as a hazard and that President Donald Trump acted unlawfully by trying to ram through its construction.

"The Trump administration has repeatedly violated the law in its relentless pursuit of seeing Keystone XL built, and it would have been unconscionable to allow this pipeline to be built through rivers, streams and wetlands while it remains tied up in court," said Doug Hayes, a senior attorney with Sierra Club. "We're glad to see the court recognize the threat this dirty, dangerous pipeline poses to communities, wildlife, and clean drinking water along its route, and we’ll continue to fight to ensure it is blocked for good."

Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said, "Contrary to what the Trump administration has argued, the law is clear. We won't sacrifice imperiled species so giant corporations can profit from the dirty fossil fuels that pollute our waters and climate."

Marcie Keever, legal director for Friends of the Earth, also welcomed the ruling but urged caution as the legal fight is certain to continue. "The court's decision today buys some time for our environment, but its future remains in jeopardy," Keever said. "We will continue to fight against this administration’s stubborn insistence to build the toxic, climate destroying Keystone XL pipeline."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'This Is Big': House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, "sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade."

Andrea Germanos ·


Tlaib Praised for 'Braving the Smears' and Voting Against $1 Billion Israel Military Aid Bill

One rights group thanked Tlaib "for speaking truth to power" while being attacked "for simply insisting that Palestinians are human beings who deserve safety, security, and freedom from Israeli apartheid."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Hold Strong': Coalition Urges House to Reject Bipartisan Bill Until Reconciliation Package Passed

The bipartisan infrastructure bill "doesn't contain the climate solutions and care, education, and economic investments we need," more than 90 progressive groups wrote in a letter.

Kenny Stancil ·


New Legal Campaign Aims to Protect People and Nature From Polluters' 'Irreparable Damage'

"States must listen to communities' demands to recognize the human right to a healthy environment and better regulate businesses with respect to the impacts of their operations."

Jessica Corbett ·


'You Tell Me What We Should Cut': Sanders Not Budging on $3.5 Trillion

"Poll after poll tells me, and tells you, that what we are trying to do is enormously popular."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo