US judge says new pipelines need more review
By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge is revising a ruling that held up utility projects crossing streams and wetlands, but says new oil and gas pipelines will still need further reviews. Monday's ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris means the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can again use a disputed program to approve electrical lines and other utility work through streams and wetlands. Maintenance and repairs on existing pipelines also would be allowed, but not construction of new pipelines. The program was blocked by Morris last month. Environmentalists say it lets companies skirt water protection laws and ignore the cumulative harm from thousands of stream and wetlands crossings. A spokeswoman for the gas industry said the ruling would quickly be appealed.
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