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Nebraska Court Ruling Gives Obama an Out on Keystone XL

Ruling on lawsuit that gives the administration an excuse to delay decision comes just weeks after pipeline's positive environmental review.

by
Bridget Johnson

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February 19, 2014 - 6:00 pm
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WASHINGTON — After an environmental review cleared the way for the Keystone XL pipeline, the Obama administration found itself in the hot seat as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called for the president to finally make a decision on the long-stalled project.

Today, a state court in Nebraska gave Obama a timely out that could result in at least a yearlong delay.

Three Nebraska property owners filed suit to block the pipeline’s path through their state, and a judge ruled that a 2012 law giving the governor power to approve the pipeline over the state’s Public Service Commission was unconstitutional. The state attorney general indicated that they will appeal the ruling.

“We have not yet reviewed today’s court ruling, but we recognize that Nebraska has to work through its process on this very important energy project for America. We believe, however, that the environmental concerns in Nebraska, and in every other state through which the pipeline will pass, have been addressed,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), a key proponent of the project in Congress.

“Because the state of Nebraska made a thorough review of the alternative route, we would expect the Nebraska Public Service Commission to make the same decision as the governor in approving the new route and to do so in a timely manner,” Hoeven added.

“Following the release two weeks ago of the State Department’s fifth and final favorable Environmental Impact Statement, the Keystone XL pipeline’s good environmental stewardship and safety are well established, and the president should approve it. The State Department should now come forward promptly with a determination of the national interest based on the merits and importance of this much-needed energy infrastructure project for the nation.”

Congress isn’t the only entity getting impatient with Obama on Keystone. Before a meeting with the president today in Mexico, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with leaders of  TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline project.

Harper said he’d raise Keystone with Obama “in private as I’ve done every time I’ve met him over the past couple of years.”

A couple of weeks ago, Harper said Obama had “punted” on the Keystone decision.

“It is my hope that the administration will in due course see its way to take the appropriate decision, but that’s obviously a political process in the United States,” the prime minister told a trade forum. “The good news is that on both sides of the aisle, in both political parties, in both houses, and throughout the American economy and public, there is widespread support for the project.”

Bob Schulz, a University of Calgary business professor, told Bloomberg that the ruling gave both Obama and the State Department breathing room. “Why would they decide if they don’t have to decide?” Schulz said. “I think he’s going to push it back another year.”

Top Rated Comments   
Canada has waited far too long. All that oil will go west to Vancouver and across the pacific to Asia. Thanks Mr. President. Where are we on that advent calendar again?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Alaska can build a pipeline and port, then so can Canada. The difference is, the Alaskan port will create profits and jobs for Americans, whereas the Canadian port will not, and our neighbors to the north aren't going to just sit back and wait while Obama continues to dither on making a decision.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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Why should Keystone be built at all? The US has no pipelines built considering all the enviromental damage they do. [better double check that dude- the Futon]
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's pause a moment.
The Nebraska judge is not ruling on environmental grounds. The judge is ruling on private-property-eminent-domain issues. If we were steamed at Kelo -- and I was -- then we need to be a little careful here. Forcing people to sell property or to sell right-of-way is a major step.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am curious as to whether any of the 3 plaintiffs own property anywhere close to the proposed pipeline route. I doubt it but if it was important, I have little doubt that the money sources behind the plaintiffs could find and buy some more plaintiffs.
Personally, I am sick of the millionaires and billionaires using their money to shape public policy which is the proper concern and right of every voter.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just build the Keystone Pipeline west to Vancouver instead of south toward Texas.

It should be built in time for the 2016 campaign season. It should make for some easily understandable 30 seconds posts for TV & radio.

The tag line is Obama did that and also point to his cronies.

Point out how much the sage of Omaha is making by transporting oil by rail. Also point out how much more oil is spilled by rail shipments.

2016 Baby, make the Democrats pay for their malfeasance.

8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cui Bono? I bet the judge is among those who did.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
The more oil flowing in from Canada, the more of a threat it poses to the Saudi's and OPEC's torturing of the U.S.A. with oil prices. We have been feeding the ravens for far too long ... the Saudi influence upon Obama and others in the administration and Congress must not be underestimated. The SAudi royal family are extremely worried about loss of their massive control over OPEC and the U.S.A. The more energy independent the U.S.A. becomes; the less funding Islam gets for it's heinous acts of expansion worldwide .... THAT's A FACT JACK.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is money floating in the background. Very recently a Dem supporter offered the Democrats 100 million dollars for a denial of the pipeline. What would be another five or ten million to a judge?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Source?

Obama has pivoted away from foreign policy after he pivoted away from jobs and the economy to bring up Global warming again.

Are you talking about the donors who are johny one notes on AGW?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can't someone give Obama another kind of an out, like an out to get out of the country, without it getting to the point of having to go all Ukrainian or Venezuelan or Egyptian to get him out?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow, what coincidence. I wonder what the political affiliations were of those deciding it was unconstitutional.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Canada has waited far too long. All that oil will go west to Vancouver and across the pacific to Asia. Thanks Mr. President. Where are we on that advent calendar again?
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Alaska can build a pipeline and port, then so can Canada. The difference is, the Alaskan port will create profits and jobs for Americans, whereas the Canadian port will not, and our neighbors to the north aren't going to just sit back and wait while Obama continues to dither on making a decision.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's right. Oil is already being shipped to India, and frankly more needs to be sold to countries that currently import from regimes that receive poor marks from Freedom House and Transparency International.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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