Today, National Public Radio aired a segment covering the Keytsone XL pipeline case. The argument is over the legitimacy of LB 1161 and whether Governor Dave Heineman had the authority to approve the route.
Backers say it will create jobs and boost the economy. Opponents say producing crude from oil sands emits more pollution than other oil production methods. While the outcome of today's case will have implications for the economy and Nebraska residents, today's Nebraska Supreme Court battle isn't about those things. It is over the constitutionality of a bill (LB 1161) and whether Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman possessed the authority to approve the route for TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
Because the Keystone XL pipeline crosses over the Canada-U.S. border, it must receive White House approval before construction can commence. President Obama announced some time back that he would not approve the project until a route is determined, and the route cannot be determined until today's Nebraska Supreme Court case is decided. Essentially, the entire Keystone XL pipeline hinges on the outcome of today's case.
At first, TransCanada proposed a route that crossed Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region, but due to strong criticism, TransCanada changed the route. It was this second route that was approved by the Governor.
Dave Domina, lead attorney at Domina Law Group and the democratic candidate for the Nebraska Senate, is representing the three landowners who filed suit against the state. According to Domina, only the Public Service Commission has the approval to approve pipeline routes through the state – not the governor.
Listen to the story on NPR.