Update: Obama renews veto pledge after NE Supreme Court ruling
Next we have an Update on something I talked about last week: the Keystone XL pipeline.
I said last week that the House had passed a bill to force approval of the pipeline - which, again, is intended to carry tar sands, about the most polluting source of oil there is, from mines in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas - but Obama said he would veto the bill if it passed the Senate. Among the reasons was that the issue of the pipeline's route across Nebraska was before that state's Supreme Court.
On Friday, January 9, the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the law in question. What had happened was that the state legislature passed a bill stripping from the state utilities commission the authority to rule on the pipeline's route across the state and giving it to the governor, knowing full well that he would do whatever TransCanada, the corporation that wants to built the pipeline, wanted him to do - which he promptly did.
Some people challenged the validity of the law under the state constitution. They won at two lover levels and the state Supreme Court found by 4-3 that the law should be struck down. Unfortunately, Nebraska requires a supermajority of 5-2 to strike down a law. So the law was upheld and the route is approved.
Meanwhile, the Senate is moving forward with a bill to approve the pipeline. A final vote on the Senate version is expected sometime in the week of January 19.
However, in reaction to the decision in Nebraska, the White House repeated its statement that Obama will veto that bill and while the pipeline does has enough support to pass the bill, in neither house of Congress does it have enough support to get the 2/3 majority needed to overcome a veto.
Some have argued that O's real reason for a veto is that the bill would strip from the Executive Branch the authority to make the final decision, so it's his turf, not an environmental principle, that he is defending.
It is true, Obama does not like his authority being limited or questioned. However, this still does to me have the feel that he is leaning toward rejecting the pipeline. And that certainly would be Good News if he did.
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