Gov. Dave Heineman says he’s very disappointed by the latest delay on a decision about the Keystone XL oil pipeline and rejects the suggestion that legal issues in Nebraska should prevent the State Department from moving forward.
Heineman says there just doesn’t need to be any more delays.
“It’s time for a yes or no decision on the Keystone pipeline,” Heineman tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview.
Yet, the State Department has delayed again its decision on the route, claiming legal issues in Nebraska need to be resolved first.
The latest delay on Keystone seemingly contradicts President Barack Obama’s assurance in late February that a decision on Keystone would be make in a couple of months. Obama reportedly made the remark during a meeting with governors after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal suggested the president should grant TransCanada’s presidential permit. [Read earlier story]
Heineman was in attendance and reported that Obama told the governors he would be making a decision on Keystone in the next couple of months, a decision that would make some happy and some unhappy. The president declined to elaborate.
Heineman says the president knew the lawsuit had been filed in Nebraska when he spoke with the governors.
“Well, the fact of the matter is when the president told all the governors and myself (about the timeframe) he knew exactly what was going on in Nebraska, that lawsuit was going on, and he said he was going to make a decision and now he’s not and I wish he would explain why,” Heineman says.
TransCanada has applied for a presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline from western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. It would connect with the southern portion of the pipeline, which is operating from Cushing, Oklahoma to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.
The northern portion of Keystone XL is estimated to cost $5.4 billion. It would carry 830,000 barrels of oil sands crude from Canada to the refineries.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of LB 1161, passed in 2012 by the Unicameral, upon which Heineman based his decision to approve the Keystone XL route through Nebraska.
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.
The lawsuit is expected to be decided by the Nebraska Supreme Court either late this year or early next year.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]