In a preemptive move The White House has announced that the President will likely veto fresh legislation seeking to approve the controversial Keystone pipeline. This is the same legislation that failed to pass in November, when Democrats were in control of the Senate. Now, with a GOP-controlled congress, the pipeline has become a top-agenda item.
Those opposed to the Keystone Pipeline project cite, among other things, the added carbon footprint to refine oil delivered from Canada’s oil sand reserves (about 17% more carbon emissions during refinement). These added emissions along with creating only temporary US jobs during the construction phase leave many to question the value of such a project.
Meanwhile, supporters for the Keystone project argue that the $5.3 billion dollar influx and the 42,000 temporary jobs created would be a welcome influx to the local and US economy. Additionally, this is oil that is already moving by rail from Canada to the Gulf states, and most agree the pipeline would be a safer way to move the oil with less chance of a spill.
As the GOP prepares to bring the Keystone XL project up for vote, and the White House is threatening a veto, one detail that can’t be overlooked is the upcoming ruling of the Nebraska courts. In 2014 the State Department halted review on the project when the Nebraska district court blocked the Governor’s decision to allow the pipeline to pass through the state. The Nebraska district court ruled that the Governor did not have the authority to make this decision. If this ruling holds up in the Nebraska Supreme Court TransCanada may have to resubmit applications for permits, a process that could take months or even years.
So as the GOP and the White House prepare for legislation on the Pipeline both sides will be watching to see what the Nebraska Supreme Court has to say on the matter.