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US court halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline

Trump granted a permit for the conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas shortly after taking office.

FILE: Demonstators take part in a protest outside of the White House against the building of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline on 10 January 2015 in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP

NEW YORK – A federal judge on Thursday halted construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing that President Donald Trump's administration had failed to adequately explain why it had lifted a ban on the project.

The ruling by Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for the District of Montana dealt a stinging setback to Trump and the oil industry and served up a big win for conservationists and indigenous groups.

Trump granted a permit for the conduit meant to stretch from Canada to Texas shortly after taking office. He said it would create jobs and spur development of infrastructure.

The administration overturned a ruling by the Obama administration in 2015 that denied a permit for the pipeline, largely on environmental grounds.

Thursday's ruling is temporary, and requires the government to do a more thorough review of how the project might affect the climate, cultural resources and wildlife.

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