Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nebraska court invalidates governor's approval of Keystone XL pipeline

Last year Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman endorsed legislation to allow TransCanda Corp.'s $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline to cross part of the state, but now a state court has invalidated the decision, Patrick Rucker and Valerie Volcovici write for Reuters. As a result, the project will be delayed months beyond the expected five years it would already take to build it.

Lancaster District Judge Stephanie Stacy said that when legislators allowing Gov. Dave Heineman to decide the route, rather than the Nebraska Public Service Commission, they violated the state constitution. Reuters reports, "TransCanada has been counting on President Barack Obama to approve its pipeline plan, Keystone backers had anticipated the support of states and landowners as well." But many landowners oppose the pipeline on environmental and property-rights grounds. Both Republican and Democratic legislators are pushing Obama to approve it. "The project looms over Obama's economic and environmental legacy," Reuters reports.

TransCanada said it was disappointed by the ruling and would look at other legal options. Dan Weiss, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, which opposes the plan, said "This court decision provides more uncertainty for pipeline proponents and more time to organize for pipeline opponents." (Read more)

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