Court rules Nebraska's Keystone XL pipeline approval illegal

A Nebraska district judge has ruled that a 2012 law passed in the state, which allowed the governor to approve of the Keystone XL pipeline, was illegal.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie F. Stacy ruled that the state law violated Nebraska's constitution.

Stacy noted the ruling did not look into the "merits of that pipeline," but rather over the Public Service Commission losing the authority over the pipeline. "It is clear the Legislature cannot ... divest the PSC of jurisdiction over a class of common carriers and vest such power in another governmental agency."

The lawsuit was originally filed by several landowners in Nebraska. Stacy rejected nearly all of the claims made in the suit, but did agree on the issue of power being given over to one government agency over another.

Reuters reports that power couldn't be turned over to Gov. Dave Heineman to decide on allowing the $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline to cross into the state.

TransCanada was disappointed in the ruling and spokesman Shawn Howard said, "we will no analyze the judgment and decide what next steps may be taken."

The ruling could potentially delay the pipeline project for several years, which would likely suit the Obama administration, which hasn't been particularly keen on siding with one side or the other on approving or denying the pipeline project.

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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