Infrastructure & Environment

Nebraska Ruling a Legal Setback for Keystone Pipeline

February 20, 2014

A Nebraska state court ruling Wednesday opened up the possibility of even more lengthy delays for the long-postponed Keystone XL pipeline.

The ruling tossed out the state law that gave Gov. Dave Heineman the right to approve the proposed Keystone’s route through the state, saying the law violated the state’s Constitution.

And that throws a cloud of uncertainty over the Obama administration’s long-running review of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline, which was believed to be in its final few months before the matter could go to President Barack Obama for a final decision.

The pipeline proposed by TransCanada Corp. is awaiting a national interest verdict from the U.S. State Department, and it was not immediately clear whether the Nebraska court ruling would have any impact on that process.

But the State Department had previously said it would not judge the pipeline until officials in Nebraska had approved the project. Now, with Nebraska’s approval process overturned, it could prompt the Obama administration to further postpone its long-awaited verdict on whether to grant TransCanada permission to build the pipeline.

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