Saturday, February 21, 2015

192.5 - Update on Keystone XL

Update on Keystone XL

Our next update has to do with the Keystone XL pipeline, the one intended to carry tar sands, about the most polluting, dirty, way to get oil there is, from Alberta to refineries in Texas. We've talked about this a number of times, here's the latest.

As you may well know by now, the Asylum and the Senate recently have both passed bills approving the pipeline and moving the authority to make the decision on it from the Executive Branch to Congress. The Amazing Mr. O has promised to veto the bill - although it's unclear if that's out of any environmental concern or personal pique at having some of his power taken away. Either way, let's hope that even if he wants to wimp out he'll realize that at this point, having  threatened to veto it enough times, he can't not veto it if he wants to remain relevant for the rest of his term. And while the bills passed with considerable support from the Dimcrats, who like oil and gas money as much as the GOPpers do, that support was not enough to overcome a veto.

Meanwhile, as I've mentioned before, the Nebraska state legislature passed a bill allowing TransCanada, the Canadian company that wants to build the pipeline, to file for eminent domain on properties along the pipeline's route and also stripped the state’s Public Service Commission of the authority to rule on final plans. Lower courts agreed with a suit claiming that violated the state constitution, but while a majority of the state Supreme Court agreed, it wasn't the supermajority required to overturn a law.

Shortly after their win in court, TransCanada filed eminent domain claims for the landowners who still hadn’t agreed to turn their land over to the company.

Which brings us to the immediate update.

A county district judge in Nebraska has granted a temporary injunction to landowners who are challenging the ability of TransCanada to use eminent domain to seize land.

Although the injunction only affects those along the northern part of the proposed pipeline route through Nebraska, TransCanada, which agreed to not oppose the injunction in exchange for an accelerated trial schedule, said it will delay land condemnation for all of the roughly 90 property owners along the route who have refused to sign easement contracts.

Meanwhile, the US State Department has been working toward a recommendation on whether or not construction of the pipeline is in the national interest. That recommendation was delayed, supposedly to await the resolution of the case that was before the Nebraska state supreme court. That case is now over. However, don't be surprised if this new case produces another delay in that State Department process.

Which actually is good: It often seems that the longer this drags out, the less "vital" the pipeline and the overall development of tar sands seems and the more transparent all the lies about all the jobs the project was supposed to provide become.

Sources cited in links:

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