The Nebraska Supreme Court handed supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline a major victory today, approving the state’s proposed route for the project.
The court upheld a 2012 state law granting former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, the power to approve the proposed route for Keystone XL through the state. The decision was one of the last legal hurdles the project had to clear before the Obama administration renders its own ruling on the pipeline.
The White House has said it will wait for the State Department to complete its review of the project before deciding whether to approve it.
“For years, this administration has acted like a child fumbling for an excuse for why he didn’t do his homework,” Nick Loris, an expert in energy policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.
“The Nebraska Supreme Court challenge is the latest excuse voided by logic. President Obama’s out of excuses. It’s time to approve Keystone XL once and for all,” says the Heritage Foundation’s Nick Loris.
“Every time one excuse is shot down with facts proving otherwise, another excuse pops up,” he said. “The Nebraska Supreme Court challenge is the latest excuse voided by logic. President Obama’s out of excuses. It’s time to approve Keystone XL once and for all.”
With the highly anticipated decision handed down against them, opponents of the $5.4 billion pipeline are now looking to Obama to strike down its construction.
“No matter the route, as long as the pipeline is carrying tar sands oil it is a global-warming disaster and fails the president’s climate test,” 350.org Executive Director May Boeve said in a statement.
“No matter the route, as long as the pipeline is carrying tar sands oil it is a global-warming disaster and fails the president’s climate test,” says May Boeve, executive director of @350.
The organization advocates for “climate safety” and is one of the pipeline’s major opponents.
“Nebraska has been ground zero for resistance to Keystone XL from the very beginning, and farmers, ranchers and tribal leaders will continue their powerful opposition,” Boeve said. “We will continue to fight alongside them to the very end.”
The 2012 legislation, passed by the Nebraska legislature, granted the governor the power to approve the pipeline and exercise eminent domain to use land along the route. In January 2013, Heineman approved a path through the state proposed by TransCanada.
Calgary-based TransCanada is the company looking to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Heineman’s approval of the route angered landowners along the path, who sued. The three landowners who sued—Randy Thompson, Susan Luebbe and Susan Dunavan—argued the 2012 law from the Nebraska legislature violated the state constitution.
The landowners said approval of the Keystone XL pipeline’s route should have been decided by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, a five-member panel that regulates oil pipelines, railroad safety, grain bins and telephone carriers.
Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved legislation authorizing construction and operation of the pipeline. With Republicans now in control of the Senate and 63 senators supporting the project, it’s expected to pass.
The House of Representatives passed a bill approving Keystone XL 266-153 today. Twenty-eight Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the measure.
Though construction of the pipeline is expected to receive congressional approval, Obama issued a veto threat Tuesday. The White House said today that despite the Nebraska Supreme Court decision, the president stood by that threat.
For years, the president has maintained the need for a full review of the oil pipeline and its environmental impacts. The State Department and Environmental Protection Agency have been reviewing the project for six years.
Previously, the State Department said federal agencies would have two weeks to comment on the route once the Nebraska Supreme Court handed down its decision.
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