Last month the builder of the prospective Keystone XL pipeline invoked eminent domain to secure some of the last parcels of land along the project’s route through Nebraska. Now, as the Hill reports, those landowners affected by that filing have secured a temporary reprieve:
Mark Kozisek, a district judge in northern Nebraska, granted more than 90 landowners in his jurisdiction a temporary injunction that stops TransCanada Corp., the developer behind Keystone, from taking the land rights that it seeks for the pipeline. […]The action is temporary and not a ruling on the merits of the landowners’ cases against TransCanada. It gives the court a chance to review the cases while holding off on the eminent domain actions themselves.
This is all happening in front of the backdrop of the expected presidential veto of legislation approving the controversial pipeline. The 115th Congress has now passed versions of a bill approving Keystone in both the House and the Senate, despite the fact that President Obama has promised to veto any such attempt to push the project out of regulatory limbo.Keystone crosses our border with Canada, making this a State Department issue. But six years into the permitting process the Obama Administration is still dragging its feet, and despite the legislative nudge the new GOP-controlled Congress is giving him, the President has just been handed yet another reason to delay his decision.In the political furor over the pipeline, that choice is no longer being made on the merits of the project, but rather the optics of it and the effect this might have on the avowedly green-minded President. But that Canadian oil is coming out of the ground with or without Keystone, making the infrastructure process ancillary to whatever polluting effects that production might entail. By his own logic the President should have approved Keystone long ago, but the longer he waits the more green symbolism the pipeline accumulates, like barnacles on a ship’s hull.