A Nebraska judge ruled Wednesday afternoon that Lincoln legislators violated the state’s constitution when they granted Gov. Dave Heineman the authority to approve a route proposed for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy concluded that the decision should have been the sole domain of the state’s public service commission, according to Joe Duggan at the World Herald.
We covered Gov. Heineman’s original approval of the route when he first made it in January 2013. Steele City, Neb. is the end-point for the leg of the pipeline that remains to be built.
The new ruling is being appealed, but if it is upheld, TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, would likely have to return to Nebraska to get the route reapproved by the commission.
“Under the court’s ruling, TransCanada has no approved route in Nebraska,” Dave Domina, a lawyer representing the case’s plaintiffs, said in a press release. “TransCanada is not authorised to condemn the property against Nebraska landowners. The pipeline project is at a standstill in this state.”
Last month, the pipeline got a seeming boost from the State Department, which concluded in its environmental assessment that existence of the pipeline would have no meaningful impact on increasing carbon dioxide emissions.
The ultimate decision rests with President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, which will decide whether to grant a cross-border permit based on national security criteria.