The Nebraska Supreme Court has paved the way for the battle of the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline to land in Washington.
The court has decided to allow construction on the pipeline across the state, meaning the issue is now in the hands of Congress. However, Reuters reported White House spokesperson Eric Schultz said in a statement that President Obama would reject the legislation. "If presented to the president, he will veto,” he said.
The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline would carry up to 830,00 barrels from Canada’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast every day. The pipeline has been controversial since it was proposed; it could have serious environmental impacts and some environmentalists believe it reflects the U.S.’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The president has said he could not endorse a project that substantially harms the climate and the pipeline could be a controversial battle throughout his second term.
Three judges on the Nebraska Supreme Court said they believed the landowners who challenged legislation on the pipeline did not do so properly, but declined to discuss whether or not the pipeline was constitutional.
The other four judges believed the law, which allowed Nebraska’s governor to bypass regulatory procedures and approve the route himself, was unconstitutional.
However, the court requires five judges to agree in order to change the law. Since that condition wasn’t met, the law was simply left in place.
"While the outcome may not be what we had hoped for, I believe we have successfully sent the message that Nebraska citizens are willing to stand up," said Randy Thompson, a landowner plaintiff who said he expected Obama would reject Keystone.