Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nebraska Court Ruling Could Mean Further Keystone XL Delays: Official

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Nebraska Court Ruling Could Mean Further Keystone XL Delays: Official

Article excerpt

Will court ruling further delay Keystone XL?

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WASHINGTON - The Obama administration says a court decision has forced it to examine whether the Keystone XL pipeline process might have to be delayed once again.

A senior official said Friday that numerous lawyers were examining the ruling handed down earlier this week in Nebraska for its possible impact.

"I know that lots of lawyers are looking at what the implications of it may be on our process. Nebraska has its own process that it has to go through," said Roberta Jacobson, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

"So I don't have an answer for you as to how this will affect the timing -- or whether it will affect the timing ... that's the open question."

The multi-year pipeline process has been plunged into deeper uncertainty by a court ruling that says the Nebraska state government has acted unconstitutionally.

The verdict says the state had no right to pass a law that gave the governor the power to impose a route against the will of landowners -- instead of an independent regulatory body. The state has appealed the decision.

That means questions to U.S. President Barack Obama about whether he will approve the pipeline are largely futile at this point.

His administration says it doesn't even know whether it's in a legal position to make a decision at all.

Unless the ruling is overturned in a higher court, or every landowner on the current route signs on, or an arm's-length Nebraska agency accepts the route, not even an Obama approval would get the project completed.

On Wednesday, Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy declared unconstitutional a law that had given Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman the power to push the project through private land.

Stacy insisted her ruling had nothing to do with the merits of the pipeline and was based solely on Nebraska's constitution. …

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