By Suzanne Goldenberg, January 22 2013. Source: The Guardian
Environmental activists protest against Keystone XL pipeline heading for the White House in DC on 18 November 2012. Photo: 350.org
Barack Obama‘s powerful call for climate action faced an immediate test on Tuesday, with the president forced into a decision on one of the most contentious items on his agenda: the Keystone XL pipeline.
A day after Obama made a strong commitment to climate in his inaugural address, the governor of Nebraska signed off on the pipeline, leaving it up to the White House to decide on the fate of the project.
“Construction and operation of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline … would have minimal environmental impacts in Nebraska,” Dave Heineman, the governor of Nebraska, wrote in a letter to the White House.
The approval now leaves the fate of a project seen as a litmus test of the administration’s environmental credentials entirely in Obama’s hands. Continue reading
By Paul Hammel, December 31, 2012. Source: Omaha.com
A district judge ruled Monday that the heart of a lawsuit seeking to nullify the state’s review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline can proceed.
Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy left intact all but one allegation raised by three landowners who are affected by the high-pressure, crude-oil pipeline project. The judge rejected a request by the State of Nebraska to dismiss the entire case.
The landowners — Randy Thompson, Susan Luebbe and Susan Dunavan — are among the leading opponents of the pipeline. They claim that a law passed last spring by the Nebraska Legislature, allowing an expedited environmental review by the state, is unconstitutional.
One of the main claims is that the law improperly delegates authority over such pipelines to the governor, when the State Public Service Commission is authorized to regulate such projects. Another is that the law, Legislative Bill 1161, is unconstitutional “special legislation” because it was passed to benefit only one entity, pipeline developer TransCanada Inc.