Nebraska’s Supreme Court ruled TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline can move through the state. However, President Obama must decide whether to sign a bill from Congress approving the project, which has languished for the past six years.
The pipeline would carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands through southeast Nebraska down to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. Supporters say it would create U.S. jobs and decrease the nation’s reliance on foreign oil. Opponents claim those job estimates are inflated and the new oil would increase carbon emissions.
Two U.S. State Department reports have found Keystone could be done in an environmentally safe way and would not increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Still in Limbo
Although energy independence proponents hailed the Nebraska ruling, the fate of the project remains uncertain because Obama has repeatedly said he will veto any legislation authorizing construction of the project.
The lower portion of the pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma has already been completed.
Daniel Simmons, vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, notes President Obama has had more than six years to decide whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the “national interest.”
“The fact the Nebraska Supreme Court has resolved the Nebraska issues does not mean the Obama administration will make a decision any time soon. The decision on the pipeline has nothing to do with the merits and everything to do with pandering to radical green activists and their rich funders like Tom Steyer,” Simmons said.
“President Obama will only make a decision when he is forced to. They continue to refuse to consider what the American people want, but only what their activist allies want,” he says.
Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation, says Obama is willing to go around Congress to get what he wants and is not afraid of the Nebraska Supreme Court.
“He’s avoided a veto simply because of the political ramifications; however, if he wanted to sign legislation, he would have already done so,” says Matthews.