The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that federal agencies certified the Ruby Pipeline without taking sufficient account of groundwater and fish species living along the route.
The pipline was built in 2010 - against the wishes of environmentalists. It runs 700 miles from natural gas fields in Wyoming to southern Oregon. Several streams had to be trenched and blasted to make way for it.
Amy Atwood of the Center for Biological Diversity, welcomed the ruling, saying more can now be done to minimize further harm to fish and groundwater.
"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that we were correct in our contention that the environmental reviews for the pipeline were not in compliance with the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. And has ordered the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to redo their environmental analyses," says Atwood.
The decision says a new biological opinion is required, with additional mitigation for nine endangered fish. It also asks for new analysis of the pipeline’s cumulative effects on sensitive sagebrush.
Energy company Kinder Morgan released a statement saying it's reviewing the decision.