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Nebraska court upholds law setting Keystone XL Pipeline route

Tribal activists staged a protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline during President Barack Obama's visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota in June. Photo from Aldo Seoane on Twitter

The Nebraska Supreme Court today upheld a state law that allowed Gov. Dave Heineman (R) to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The ruling is a major win for TransCanada, the Canadian company behind the controversial project. The route through Nebraska has been contentious and the case was one of the reasons why President Barack Obama said the State Department was taking a long time to make a decision on the pipeline.

The White House also cited the case in issuing an early veto threat to Republican lawmakers who are pushing bills to authorize the project. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act at a lengthy business meeting on Thursday and the House is set to vote today on H.R.3, its version of the approval bill.

“Today’s court decision wipes out President Obama’s last excuse,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the chairwoman of the Senate committee, said in a statement. “He’s had six years to approve a project that will increase U.S. energy supplies and create closer ties with our nearest ally and neighbor, and he’s refused to act. Regardless of whatever new excuse he may come up with, Congress is moving forward.”

Tribes in the U.S. and First Nations in Canada oppose the pipeline due to concerns about treaty territory, sacred sites, water and the environment. But their concerns have gone largely unheeded because TransCanada and its allies claim the project won't directly cross tribally-owned lands.

On Tuesday, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission rejected a request from tribes to dismiss TransCanada's application to renew the pipeline route through that state. The company will be allowed to proceed with the process.

Get the Story:
Court upholds law used to route Keystone XL (The Lincoln Journal Star 1/9)
Nebraska Justices Back Pipeline; Now Obama Must Decide (The New York Times 1/9)
Nebraska court removes a major obstacle to Keystone XL pipeline (The Washington Post 1/9)
Experts Say That Battle on Keystone Pipeline Is Over Politics, Not Facts (The New York Times 1/9)
Get ready for more bipartisan bills in Congress. And more vetoes from Obama. (The Washington Post 1/9)
Democratic claims on Keystone XL’s impact on the environment and oil exports (The Washington Post 1/8)
PUC will allow Keystone XL evidence to move forward (The Black Hills Pioneer 1/7)
Keystone backers win in SD, set back by White House (AP 1/6)

Nebraska Supreme Court Decision:
Thompson v. Heineman (January 9, 2015)

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