U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled that TransCanada cannot do most work to prepare for construction, including setting up camps for workers who would build the pipeline if it is allowed to move forward. The judge said TransCanada can move pipe to storage yards along the pipeline route.
The decision threatens to prevent TransCanada from beginning construction on the pipeline this year, and may push its earliest start date into 2020.
The ruling is the latest blow in a series of defeats for the $8 billion project. The line would transport heavy crude from Alberta, Canada to Steel City, Nebraska, where it would link up with existing lines to transport oil supplies to Gulf Coast refineries.