TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline faces one less hurdle after Nebraska’s highest court cleared its path through the state, setting aside a challenge to the power of its Republican governor to dictate the route, and sending the matter back to Washington.
The project would send crude from Alberta’s oil sands to a network junction in southeast Nebraska, for transport to Gulf Coast refineries. While the ruling is a victory for energy independence proponents, the project’s fate remains uncertain. It now returns to President Barack Obama for approval, who deferred a decision citing the lawsuit.
The U.S. Senate Energy Committee Jan. 8 passed a measure forcing approval of the pipeline, setting up a confrontation with Obama, who has pledged to veto the legislation.
The full chamber is to take up the issue next week, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said. A final Senate vote isn’t expected until later this month. The House is scheduled vote today on similar legislation.
Democrats in both chambers say they have the votes to sustain a veto, though Keystone supporters say they are still trying to persuade colleagues.
The Obama administration had suspended a State Department review of the international pipeline while the Nebraska case was pending. Environmentalists oppose the project because the energy-intensive extraction of oil from sand is blamed for increasing carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change.
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