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.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA's Environmental Justice Office 'Won't Make Up for' Manchin Deal, Campaigner Says

"We've seen a lot of structural changes on environmental justice in the Biden, Obama and Clinton administrations, but we need to see the results," said Wes Gobar of the Movement for Black Lives.

Julia Conley ·


Historic Tropical Storm Fiona Sweeps Homes Into Ocean in Eastern Canada

"Climate change leads to warmer ocean water at higher latitudes," said one Canadian civil engineering professor. "A warmer future increases the probability that more intense storms will reach Canadian coasts."

Julia Conley ·


Federal Judge Allows 'Untenable' Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

"The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families," said one children's advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Catastrophic': Arizona Judge Allows 1864 Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," said one rights advocate.

Julia Conley ·


US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo