(Neb)-Judge Gives Feds A Month On Keystone XL Document Request
BILLINGS, MT. (AP) - A federal judge in Montana has given the government a month to provide documents sought by environmentalists who accused the Trump administration of withholding details on approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline or to explain why the documents should be withheld.
The ruling by U-S District Judge Brian Morris on Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging the Keystone XL approval as arbitrary and illegal.
U-S Justice Department attorneys fighting release warned it could take more than 6 years and cost $6.3 million to review an estimated 5 million pages of documents to determine if they could be be released.
Jackie Prange, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council argued "The public has a right to know what evidence and what materials were considered" in making the approval decision, especially since the Obama administration had denied approval of the Keystone XL.
Judge Morris said the government must provide at least a "privilege log" that includes a cursory description of the documents and explains why they can't be released.
Pipeline developer TransCanada Corporation had announced last month it hopes to begin construction yesterday, and had no response to yesterday's ruling, saying it doesn't comment on ongoing litigation.
The Keystone XL would carry up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil nearly 1,200 miles from Canada to U-S refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. The route would cut diagonally across South Dakota and Nebraska to connect with the route of the original Keystone pipeline south of Beatrice.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission has approved a route other than the one preferred by TransCanada and legal challenges to the decision continue from both sides
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