The Nebraska Supreme Court voted on Friday, January 9 to uphold the state’s approval of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route through the state. This decision comes on the heels of yesterday’s approval of legislation by the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee to complete the project, removing a major roadblock for the $7 billion proposed cross-continental project by Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation.
The proposed 1,179-mile pipeline would carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through many Midwest states including Nebraska. The newly-elected Republican Congress has vowed to make the Keystone XL Pipeline a key part of its 2015 agenda, and on Friday a bill to approve the pipeline cleared the U.S. House of Representatives by overwhelming majority (266-153) and has been sent to the Senate for a vote. While President Obama has stated that he would veto the bill if it cleared both the House and Senate, he has previously cited the need to wait on a decision by the Nebraska Supreme Court as part of his reasoning.
With this decision by the Nebraska Supreme Court, supporters of the project believe the administration is now out of excuses to block construction of the project—which requires presidential approval because it would cross the border between Canada and the United States. Now that the bill to approve the pipeline has cleared the House, the Senate has scheduled a vote later this month, setting the stage for a final showdown with President Obama in the near future.