Nov 9, 2018

Judge blocks construction of controversial Keystone XL pipeline

Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, sit in a lot. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A federal district court judge in Montana thwarted construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline late Thursday, ruling that the Trump administration must first provide an updated environmental analysis.

Why it matters: The ruling is a setback for White House efforts to enable construction of the pipeline — first proposed a decade ago — that would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels per day from Alberta's oil sands to U.S. markets.

  • It adds another layer of uncertainty for developer TransCanada, which has yet to make a final decision about proceeding with the project that has been the focus of intense, years-long battles between oil interests and environmentalists.

Details, per New York Times:

  • "The judge, Brian M. Morris of the District of Montana, criticized the Trump administration for its failure to provide a 'reasoned explanation' for its position about the pipeline’s impact on the climate."
  • But the ruling goes further than just climate. As the Washington Post notes, the ruling demands a "more complete review of potential adverse impacts related to climate change, cultural resources and endangered species."

The bottom line: Morris' ruling prevents the Trump administration and TransCanada from "engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities" until the updated environmental review is complete.

  • However, the administration could appeal the ruling, so stay tuned.

Go deeper

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Protesters and police clash during demonstration on Wednesday over the death of George Floyd in custody outside the Third Police Precinct. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Minneapolis police clashed for a second night with protesters demonstrating the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted late Wednesday that the situation where the clashes were taking place was "extremely dangerous" as he urged people to leave the area. There were multiple news reports of police firing tear gas at protesters and of some people looting a Target store.

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers sue CVS, alleging drug pricing fraud

Photo: John Lamparski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Six Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have sued CVS Health, alleging the pharmacy chain overcharged them based on "artificially inflated prices" for generic drugs and concealed the true cash prices of those drugs.

The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.