Earlier this week,
TransCanada petitioned President Obama to put its review of the company’s oil pipeline project on hold.
The Canadian oil giant made its plea citing its continued efforts to seek
approval for the portion of the route that passes through Nebraska. Now,
sources are saying that Obama will reject TransCanada’s offer to
pause the review, and instead
reject Keystone XL altogether.
The Keystone XL pipeline project has been tied up in legal battles for
years. TransCanada initially filed its application for a route permit
more than seven years ago. Many of the landowners whose property stood
in the pipeline’s path signed easements. The holdouts were threatened
with eminent domain proceedings.
Just recently, TransCanada
halted all condemnation efforts against the Nebraska holdouts,
switching strategies to get route approval from Nebraska’s Public Service Commission,
the commission that could grant the company the power of eminent domain.
TransCanada claimed that its turn to the Public Service Commission should
warrant the dismissal of two lawsuits filed in Holt and York Counties
on behalf of Nebraska landowners. The lawsuits concern a 2012 law (LB 1161) that granted then-governor Dave Heineman the power of route approval,
bypassing the Public Service Commission. Since TransCanada decided to
seek approval via the commission, they said the lawsuits were moot. Domina
Law Group disagreed, which you can read more about
Dave Domina, the attorney representing Nebraska landowners in a lawsuit against TransCanada,
commented to the Lincoln Journal Star that Nebraskans “will not
lie down to be run over.”
About a year ago, TransCanada was claiming to President Obama that the
route through Nebraska was essentially set in stone.
“TransCanada admits what any careful reader of last January’s
Nebraska Supreme Court action knew…. The route was not approved
and the law TransCanada rammed through the Legislature was unconstitutional,”
Today, the certainty of the pipeline route is still uncertain due to the
pending lawsuits in Nebraska.
This week, TransCanada formally petitioned the White House to stop presidential
review of KXL’s route, a petition it denied, prompting many to draw
the conclusion that the Obama administration will reject the project.