Judge Brian Morris

U.S. District Court Montana

A pivotal hearing in the ongoing Keystone XL saga was conducted Thursday, April 16, in Montana federal court.

Lawyers for President Donald Trump say he has inherent power as commander in chief to issue a permit unilaterally.

Lawyers for tribes and environmentalists say Congress has power over foreign commerce, and the president violated standing presidential orders when he issued a new permit in 2019.

All parties appeared remotely in response to COVID-19 restrictions.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has asked a Montana federal judge to put an emergency stop to the Keystone XL pipeline.

The South Dakota tribe and Montana's Fort Belknap Indian Community filed a request for a temporary restraining order on Friday, April 3.

The tribes say it's dangerous to bring construction workers to rural areas while the COVID-19 pandemic is active.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

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According to news reports, TC Energy plans to start preconstruction of Keystone XL pipeline in mid to late March. That's at least two weeks before a Montana federal judge will hear arguments from tribes and environmentalists asking for a preliminary injunction.

TC's activities include bringing in crews to mow and grade the sites of pipe yards in Montana at the point of crossing the U.S.-Canada border.

A lawyer for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Fort Belknap Indian Community says TC is jumping the gun.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Montana Federal Court

A Montana federal judge has set a hearing date for renewed arguments on the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Indigenous Environmental Network and North Coast Rivers Alliance have again asked for a preliminary injunction against permitting the pipeline.

TransCanada and the Trump administration have asked for summary judgment.

Judge Brian Morris will hear arguments on those requests and more in Great Falls on March 25.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks file photo

U.S. District Court-Montana

A Montana federal judge has loosened restrictions on preconstruction activities for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The federal court halted the pipeline in November until the U.S. State Department completes an accurate and updated environmental impact statement.

TransCanada appealed the injunction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and asked the Montana federal court to lift restrictions pending appeal.

An environmental lawyer says once construction starts, opponents lose.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.