Gov. Dave Heineman confirmed today President Obama has indicated a decision on Keystone XL could be coming in a matter of months.
Heineman said the president made his remarks about Keystone during a meeting with members of the National Governors Association when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal suggested the president should grant TransCanada’s presidential permit.
“And, again, it was at that moment that the president said, ‘I will be making a decision on Keystone in the next couple of months. Some of you will be happy. Some of you won’t.’” Heineman told reporters during a conference call this morning. “So, I’m not going to try to interpret or guess what that decision is going to be other than to say after five years America does need a decision.”
Heineman was among the group of governors who discussed a wide range of issues in a private meeting with President Obama, issues that included energy and the Keystone XL pipeline.
The governor said the time period might remain a bit vague, but seemed to indicate a decision would be made soon.
“I did not interpret, nor do I think he meant, an indefinite period of time. He said a couple of months,” Heineman stated. “Does that mean two months, three months, four months? But, it would be in that time frame, I would think.”
In the meantime, the 2012 state law, LB 1161, remains in limbo until the courts decide its status. Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy ruled it unconstitutional, stating the Nebraska Constitution gives exclusive regulatory control over pipeline companies, such as TransCanada, to the Nebraska Public Service Commission and that the Unicameral could not transfer that power to the governor.
Attorney General Jon Bruning immediately filed an appeal of the ruling.
Heineman expressed confidence the appeal will prove successful.
“I believe we passed a constitutional law. Every lawyer in the legislature, expect for one, voted for it. We’ve got some very smart lawyers down there. The Attorney General was involved in those conversations. He thinks it’s constitutional. We’re going to appeal it and we are hopeful that the Nebraska Supreme Court will overturn that decision,” Heineman stated.
Heineman said the legal fight over whether the state law re-routing the pipeline is constitutional is a separate issue.
“He never made any comment on that,” Heineman said. “I have believed for a long period of time that the president could make his decision regardless of what we are dong out here in Nebraska. Because, his decision is about crossing the international border.”
Heineman added he believes the president could have made a decision on Keystone a long time ago.
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman discusses the president’s remarks on Keystone XL. [1:35]