Republican leaders in Congress vow to pass legislation on the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as this week.
Jane Kleeb, spokeswoman for BOLD Nebraska, says the pending bill will likely be unconstitutional and its passage won’t accomplish anything.
“Just like Congress votes repeatedly on Obamacare, this is now the 10th time Congress will be voting to approve Keystone XL,” Kleeb says. “It legally means nothing. The bill is on very shaky constitutional ground and the president has already sent signals he would veto such a bill. We’re not worried about the passing of the bill.”
Kleeb says if Congress does pass the measure, it will likely mean a lawsuit, as Keystone XL currently has no legal route in Nebraska or South Dakota.
“Both of those things mean the State Department’s report is not final and it doesn’t meet…national environmental law,” Kleeb says. “The Republicans, in their bill, say the State Department report does meet those legal requirements. That’s one, just one, of the many legal issues with the bill. I say bring it on. If they want to pass this bill, we’d be happy to see them in court.”
Congressional supporters of the pipeline say they don’t believe there’s any significant environmental risk with the project, but Kleeb says that flies in the face of science and history, especially after a recent spill.
“If you just look at the Tar Sands spill in the Kalamazoo River, which has cost over $1-billion and is still not cleaned up, this type of oil sinks. It has many more chemicals,” Kleeb says. “If a spill were to happen in Nebraska in the Sand Hills area in our groundwater, it would have a contamination plume for miles.”
GOP leaders say the project would create 42,000 jobs, but Democrats say it may be closer to 2,000.
A White House spokesman says he does not expect President Obama to sign any Keystone legislation that reaches his desk. He said legislation should not undermine a well-established review process run by the State Department or circumvent a law still pending in Nebraska over the route.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton