Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 26, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline Blocked in Nebraska

“A judge has ruled in favor of three landowners who challenged the constitutionality of a state law used to reroute the Keystone XL pipeline,” the Omaha World Herald reports.

Judge Stephanie Stacy “ruled Wednesday that the 2012 law improperly gave the governor authority to approve the pipeline route… The judge said regulatory control over pipeline companies rests with the Nebraska Public Service Commission. She granted a permanent injunction to prevent Gov. Dave Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality from taking further action to advance the pipeline.”

“The ruling would appear to mean TransCanada, the company seeking to build the crude oil pipeline, will have to seek approval again for its route.”

The AP notes the ruling “could cause more delays in finishing the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries.”

  • Andrew_Dobbs

    It would NOT carry oil. It would carry tar sands, which are entirely different. Tar sands are thick and non-viscous, with the consistency of peanut butter. To get it to flow they mix it in a slurry of solvents which are profoundly toxic. Its refining process is even more toxic than that for oil, which is bad enough if you live in the Southeast Texas communities where they will send this stuff. Finally, the final fuel products are far too toxic for US air quality standards, so it will not contribute to US energy independence–it will all end up in China and other East Asian countries.

    • Gregory Williams

      The President should demand that CANADA process all of the TAR SANDS on their soil and only ship market ready products in the pipe line or rail cars across the US border… let CANADA use some of those profits from this to clean up the environmental disaster that TARS SANDS are proven to be and they can keep all of the toxic waste and other poisonous by products up there on “their” soil … if nothing else the Canadians will throw the conservatives out and elect leaders who will not sell the country out to corporate greed and poison the environment.

      • Hawkeye

        It is my understanding that there is significant resistance in the other provinces to refining Alberta tar sands within their boundaries, making the path of least resistance to be through the US.

    • Hawkeye

      The tar itself is corrosive, full of sulfur compounds, highly toxic often carrying high loads of hydrogen sulfide gas, which in concentrations that occur at leaks can very easily be fatal with no treatment or recovery possible.

      The final refinery products will very likely end up in trans-oceanic shipping where there is little possible regulation on the open seas even where the flagging countries attempt it, while all too many of the flagging countries don’t even bother to try.

      • Delphine

        I was just thinking the other day, what kind of accident will it take to pull people up short about this? There are leaks and explosions and derailments almost weekly, there was the hideous incident with the coal stuff in Charleston WV, and yet only the tree-huggers are calling for ramping up renewables. Is there a 9/11 for the environment? Maybe not.

        • Hawkeye

          We have had and continue to have our environmental 9/11s. Considering that general opinion has not coalesced against that kind of disaster, I sincerely hope we do not have such an intense one that does!

          What often baffles me is why the deciders among the polluters allow this to continue. They, their families, children and grandchildren have to live in the unnecessary and deadly messes created just like the rest of us. The degraded environment is a universal from which there is no refuge.

  • Gregory Williams

    This piece should include the fact that the governor delegated the authority to the pipe line builder to use the powers of “condemnation” and directions to state and local entities to obey such orders as may be issued by them, he was essentially placing the government UNDER the effective control of a private for profit company … for all those who falsely scream FASCIST at Obama THIS action by a CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN controlled legislature and executive is actual fascism and selling out to OLIGARCHS.

    Glad this state judge stepped up and put a stop to this … If he is willing to serve I would hope he would accept a seat on the federal bench somewhere.

    • Hawkeye

      :) Just this quibble: Stephanie Stacy is probably not a he. She is a District Court judge, whose ruling will need to pass muster at the Appeals Court and if it passes there will also need to get past the Nebraska Supreme Court. I have some doubts it will survive all the way.

    • Juan

      Very correct! (however, to a neutral observer, the caps undermine your flawless argument’s convincing power)

  • grandpatimbo

    Oooh rah. A victory for sensible regulation.

  • southerndemnut

    The Republicans used to be big on property rights.

    • Hawkeye

      They have also been big on stealing them from others.

  • ellsie00

    A permanent injunction would save the thousands of square miles of the Ogallala Aquifer in so many States. It has always been just this simple.

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