The Nebraska Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s decision that nullified the controversial Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska Friday, meaning that Keystone XL once again has a legal route through Nebraska.
Four out of the seven judges on the Nebraska Supreme Court agreed with a district court’s February 2014 decision that Nebraska’s LB1161 law was unconstitutional, but according to Nebraska’s constitution, the court needed the agreement of a super majority — five out of the seven judges — to officially label the law as unconstitutional.
Nebraska’s LB1161 made it possible for pipeline companies, like TransCanada, to chose whether to submit their pipeline plans to the state Department of Environmental Quality, which would then bring the plans to Nebraska’s governor for final approval or rejection, or the state’s Public Service Commission, which had a stricter permitting process in place and didn’t depend on the governor for final approval.
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: So, climate change will be greatly exacerbated because of a judicial technicality. What principled priorities America has! President Obama has pledged to veto the Keystone XL authorization bill now working its way through Congress. I suspect Republicans in the U.S. Senate are hard at work securing enough support from Democrats that will enable them to override a presidential veto. If this scenario plays out, Republicans will boast about their pro-business agenda, Obama will be able to defend his “pro-environment” credentials, and Big Oil will reap massive profits. Meanwhile, the ordinary underprivileged people of the world will be left to cope on their own with an increasingly hostile Planet Earth. Good luck.