A federal judge in Montana Thursday heard arguments but made no ruling on tribes’ suit to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The hearing was part of an ongoing lawsuit the Fort Belknap Indian community in Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota brought against developer TC Energy and President Donald Trump.
The tribes are seeking to halt construction about two weeks after it began. The tribes say not only does the Keystone XL pipeline violate historic land rights, but an influx of workers brings the added threat of the novel coronavirus into the area.
Also represented at the hearing was the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of the environmental groups suing Trump and TC energy for potential harm to the environment, water quality, and wildlife in the pipelines’ path.
Attorneys for TC Energy argue that President Trump has unilateral authority to grant the Canadian company the right to construct the pipeline.
Federal Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls said he’ll make a judgement in due course.