Nebraska Judge Voids Keystone XL Approval

Decision further delays controversial project
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2014 7:22 AM CST
Jim Tarnick stands on his property in Fullerton, Neb. Cash offers have been skyrocketing for holdout Nebraska landowners willing to allow the Keystone XL pipeline onto their property.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Alex Panetta)
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(Newser) – The Keystone XL pipeline was dealt yet another setback yesterday when a Nebraska judge struck down a law that the governor had used to approve the pipeline's route in the state, and seize land for it via eminent domain. The judge sided with three Nebraska landowners who argued that under the state's constitution, only the Public Service Commission has routing authority, the Wall Street Journal reports. "I am more or less ecstatic," one of the landowners said. "A good day for me will be when I see TransCanada's taillights cross the Canadian border, heading north."

The legislature gave Gov. Dave Heineman the power to OK a revised pipeline route in 2012, after the original drew objections because it passed through ecologically delicate areas. Now, "there is no approved route across Nebraska," the plaintiffs' lawyer said. Nebraska immediately vowed to appeal, but experts tell the Washington Post that could delay a final decision on the project—which still requires White House approval—until after the November elections. "This gives the US State Department and Obama an out," a business professor tells Bloomberg. "I think he's going to push it back another year."

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