Construction on the controversial $8 billion Keystone XL Pipeline — scheduled to stretch 316 miles while sending Canadian oil from northwest to southeast across South Dakota — has hit another snag.

The giant Missouri River fish known as the pallid sturgeon is among the forms of wildlife that U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Montana said the project may endanger. This week, he ruled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law when it approved Nationwide Permit 12, a key water crossing permit for the pipeline.

“Hopefully, this clear directive from the courts will make it clear TransCanada and our own federal government can not run roughshod over Americans to help out a corporation’s shareholders,” said Jane Kleeb, founder of the Nebraska-based Bold Alliance, upon learning of the ruling.

On March 31, officials with TC Energy Corp. (formerly known as TransCanada) announced via news release they were working on the giant pipeline. They claim the project’s construction will eventually lead to 3,500 jobs in South Dakota as the conduit passes through nine counties: Harding, Butte, Perkins, Meade, Pennington, Haakon, Jones, Lyman and Tripp.

TC Energy officials did not immediately comment on the court ruling. However, in the March 31 news release, they said work had already begun in Montana, while they hoped to have the pipeline operating “in 2023.”

According to TC Energy, the strategy is for seven pump stations in South Dakota: two in Harding County, one each in Meade, Haakon and Jones counties, and two in Tripp County.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) states that a pump station is “used to transport unrefined petroleum, petroleum products, and liquefied natural gas through pipelines.”

Overall, plans are for the Keystone XL to extend 1,210-miles from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. At that point, it would connect with other TC Energy infrastructure to send the crude further south to refineries in east Texas.

The Keystone XL will be capable of transporting up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day, TC Energy officials said.

Although the pipeline battle is far from finished, environmentalists took a victory lap this week.

“It was true a decade ago, and it’s just as true today: Keystone XL would be a bad deal for the American people and should never be built,” senior attorney Doug Hayes of the San Francisco-based Sierra Club said.

“Whether they like it or not, the Corps cannot skirt foundational environmental laws. And projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will remain stalled as long as the administration keeps trying to illegally fast-track them,” attorney Cecilia Segal of the New York City-based Natural Resources Defense Council added.

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