Legal Decision Creates Fresh Uncertainty for Keystone

CUSHING, OK - MARCH 22: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 22, 2012 in Cushing, Oklahoma. Obama is pressing federal agencies to expedite the section of the Keystone XL pipeline between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
National Journal
Clare Foran
See more stories about...
Clare Foran
Feb. 19, 2014, 11:59 a.m.

A Neb­raska judge on Wed­nes­day threw out a state law au­thor­iz­ing Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Dave Heine­man’s ap­prov­al of a path for the Key­stone XL pipeline through the state, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports.

Dis­trict Court Judge Stephanie F. Stacy con­cluded that the law vi­ol­ated the state con­sti­tu­tion, and stated that jur­is­dic­tion for route ap­prov­al rests in­stead with the Neb­raska Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

Heine­man quickly told the court he would ap­peal the de­cision.

The de­cision is an­oth­er bump in the road for the con­tro­ver­sial pro­posed pipeline, which would trans­port crude from Al­berta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast re­finer­ies. Fi­nal au­thor­ity to ap­prove or re­ject the pro­ject rests with Pres­id­ent Obama be­cause it would cross the U.S.-Canada bor­der, and the pro­ject is un­der State De­part­ment re­view.

Ac­cord­ing to the Omaha World-Her­ald, the rul­ing won’t im­pact an ex­ec­ut­ive-branch de­term­in­a­tion on the pro­ject, but it will likely com­pel Tran­sCanada, the com­pany set to build the pipeline, to go back to the draw­ing board in Neb­raska and ask the state to re­approve the route.

Tran­sCanada said of the de­cision: “We are dis­ap­poin­ted and dis­agree with the de­cision. We will now ana­lyze the judg­ment and de­cide what next steps may be taken. Tran­sCanada con­tin­ues to be­lieve strongly in Key­stone XL and the be­ne­fits it would provide to Amer­ic­ans — thou­sands of jobs and a se­cure sup­ply of crude oil from a trus­ted neigh­bour in Canada.” 

An en­vir­on­ment­al­ist bat­tling Key­stone called on the State De­part­ment to stop the clock on its re­view.

An­thony Swift, an at­tor­ney with the Nat­ur­al Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil, called for the State De­part­ment to pause in or­der to “give Neb­raska the op­por­tun­ity to de­term­ine Key­stone XL’s route in ac­cord­ance with its laws.”

The State De­part­ment is con­duct­ing a 90-day re­view to de­term­ine wheth­er ap­prov­ing Key­stone is in the “na­tion­al in­terest,” a pro­cess set in mo­tion by the Jan. 31 re­lease of a fi­nal en­vir­on­ment­al im­pact ana­lys­is.

The con­sult­ing firm Clear­View En­ergy Part­ners on Thursday said the court de­cision could delay the fed­er­al re­view while ques­tions about ap­prov­al of the pipeline route through Neb­raska are worked out.

“Yes­ter­day’s rul­ing could give the State De­part­ment and the White House a reas­on to ex­tend the on­go­ing Na­tion­al In­terest De­term­in­a­tion pro­cess,” the firm said in a short ana­lys­is.

Ben Ge­man con­trib­uted.

What We're Following See More »
‘NO BASIS IN LAW’
Eleven States Sue Administration Over Transgender Bathroom Access
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

The great restroom war of 2016 continues apace, as eleven states have sued the Obama administration in federal court, claiming its federal guidance on how schools should accommodate transgender students "has no basis in law." "The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The lawsuit argues that the federal government has worked to turn workplaces and schools 'into laboratories for a massive social experiment.'"

Source:
NEXT STOP: THE FLOOR
Puerto Rico Debt Bill Passes House Committee
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

By a 29-10 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee today passed the bill to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its $70 billion in debt. The legislation "would establish an oversight board to help the commonwealth restructure its un-payable debt and craft an economic recovery plan."

Source:
WITHIN 15 DAYS OF NOMINATION
Wyden Bill Would Make Nominees’ Tax Disclosures Mandatory
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Though every major party nominee since 1976 has released his tax returns while running for president, the practice has never been required by law. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants to change that. The senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which handles tax issues, introduced a bill on Wednesday that would force presidential candidates to release their most recent tax returns. The Presidential Tax Transparency Act, as the bill is called, would require candidates to make their latest three years of tax returns public no later than 15 days after becoming the nominee."

Source:
CONTRARY TO REPORTS
Ryan Not Endorsing Trump Just Yet
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
SHORT ON LACTATION STATIONS, CHANGING TABLES
U.S. Capitol Doesn’t Meet Standards for New Moms
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The U.S. Capitol does not meet the federal government’s own standards for accommodations for new mothers," according to an investigation by NBC Channel 4. "Though the U.S. General Services Administration, a government agency which oversees the management of federal government buildings, requires a minimum number of lactation stations and changing tables, Congress is exempt from the rules and fails to meet those standards." The Capitol grounds have 12 lactations stations, far short of the 42 that would be required given the number of female workers there.

Source:
×