CUSHING, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court Wednesday said a lower court was correct when it refused to temporarily stop construction of what is intended to be the southern end of the Keystone XL pipeline and carry oil from Oklahoma to refineries along the Gulf Coast.
The Sierra Club, Clean Energy Future of Oklahoma and the East Texas Sub Regional Planning Commission had sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, saying the project posed significant environmental hazards and shouldn't have been approved. The groups sought an order that would have stopped work on the pipeline while the lawsuit was being heard, but a district court denied that request last year.
In a split decision, a panel of judges on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the ruling, saying the groups couldn't prove that potential environmental harm would surpass concrete economic harm that the pipeline's builders would see.
Referring to the lower court, the panel said the judge "found that the harm an injunction would cause TransCanada was significant." By an August 2012 hearing, TransCanada had spent in excess of $500 million on the pipeline and it was "undisputed that further delay (would) cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each day."
The court also said that the Sierra Club and the other groups could not post a bond to cover TransCanada's losses if the pipeline builder ultimately wins the lawsuit. The judges also rejected an argument that
TransCanada's potential losses were "self-inflicted" because of its own deadlines for construction.