Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A 2011 rally against the Keystone XL pipeline. (Photo: NWFblogs/flickr/cc)

As Court Ruling Clears Way for Keystone XL, Groups Say: It's Now Up to You, Obama, to Stand Up for Climate

'It’s time for President Obama to build on his veto threat and reject Keystone XL outright.'—May Boeve, 350.org

Andrea Germanos

A ruling by the Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday removes an obstacle for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline—a decision, environmental groups say, that means President Obama can and must exercise his authority to fully reject the pipeline.

Nebraska landowners had challenged the constitutionality of a state law, LB 1161 (pdf), which allowed Gov. Dave Heineman to approve TransCanada's tar sands pipeline route. The victory a lower court dealt the pipeline opponents in February was reversed with Friday's high court decision (pdf).  Though four of the seven justices sided with landowners, a fifth was needed by state law when constitutional issues are raised.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that Obama would veto legislation that forced the approval of Keystone XL, and said that the Nebraska legal battle was "impeding a final conclusion about this pipeline." He added, "Once that is resolved, that should speed the completion of the evaluation of that project."

Environmental groups charge that the final conclusion should be clear to Obama: the pipeline must be rejected.

"No matter the route, as long as the pipeline is carrying tar sands oil it is a global warming disaster and fails the President’s climate test," stated 350.org Executive Director May Boeve.

Echoing Boeve, Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International, stated: "While the route for Keystone XL may have been approved on a technicality, passing the climate test is a much higher bar. Even the State Department’s own report was clear that in the event of low oil prices, Keystone would spur significant upstream production and thus significant additional carbon pollution."

Jane Kleeb of grassroots organization Bold Nebraska said that, despite the court ruling, her group was not about to give up. "When you take a punch, you stand up and keep on fighting. We continue to stand with President Obama in his skepticism of the export pipeline and encourage him to reject Keystone XL now. The only decision that will bring peace of mind to landowners is watching the President use the power of the pen to stop this risky pipeline once and for all," she said.

Hours after the Nebraska court ruling, the House voted 266-153 to approve the pipeline.  Twenty-eight Democrats joined Republicans to pass the measure, but it still failed to get enough votes to be veto-proof.  A debate on the pipeline heads to the Senate next week.

Ahead of the vote, Boeve called it "a reminder that oily politicians are going to keep pushing Keystone XL as long as the fossil fuel industry is paying the bills and the pipeline is still on the table."

"It’s time for President Obama to build on his veto threat and reject Keystone XL outright," she continued.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'This Cannot Happen': Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians.

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Vaccine Goals 'Fall Terribly Short' Due to Big Pharma and Rich Nations' Greed: Experts

"Wealthy nations are using up the world's vaccine supply, and developing nations are suffering and losing thousands of people every day."

Brett Wilkins ·


11 Senators Support House Progressives' Push to Pass Full Biden Agenda

"We voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the clear commitment that the two pieces of the package would move together along a dual track."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ex-Prisoners Recall US Torture at 'Afghanistan's Abu Ghraib'

"It is psychologically hard for me to recall all that was happening," said one former Bagram Air Base inmate. "The torture was mostly done by Afghans, sometimes the Americans. But the orders came from the U.S."

Brett Wilkins ·


Rapid Shift to Electric Vehicles Could Create Over 150,000 Jobs in US by 2030

A new report says "smart" pro-labor policies by lawmakers would transform the "inevitable" shift to EVs "into a new beginning for U.S. producers and the rebuilding of a foundation for good jobs."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo