Nebraska Judge's Ruling Keeps Keystone Decision Dragging On

For about two seconds it looked like President Obama was finally going to have to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. The State Department report had been issued and there just wasn't any other way to delay a final, clear-cut yes or no from the White House. But then a Nebraska judge, last Thursday, went to bat and threw a monkey wrench into things.

Nebraska is one the states the pipeline is slated to run through as it totes bitumen, a sticky black type of crude pumped up from the Canadian Tar Sands, from Canada to Texas. Judge Stephanie Stacy of Lincoln, Neb. invalidated the legislation passed in her state's lege that allowed Gov. Dave Heineman to bypass the state Public Service Commission and sign-off on the Nebraska part of the project himself. TransCanada Corp. will need commission approval to put down pipelines there, a process that could take up to seven months, Bloomberg reports.

For Obama, this could be perceived as a win. After all, the president has been caught between his labor union supporters, who wanted the project approved years ago, and environmentalists who have been fiercely fighting the project for years. Now, thanks to Stacy Obama could conceivably avoid ticking off one or the other set of allies until after the midterm elections. If he decided to send Stacy a fruit basket to show his appreciation we wouldn't be at all surprised. Well, maybe a little since like no one sends fruit baskets anymore, sadly.

The thing is, the environmentalists who are still intently fighting the project seem to have missed that the Keystone is proving more of a distraction than a mission these days. All of the opposition and the many delays has failed to stop the Tar Sands oil from flowing.

In fact, because of the long delay in making a decision on the project, oil companies have simply worked around the problem, shipping the oil by rail or truck, which is actually more environmentally damaging than if they had just approved the pipeline in the first place, according to scientist Marcia McNutt.

One of the country's leading scientists, McNutt has opposed the Keystone for years, but now she is in support of it because the end result is actually worse without the entire line up and running, she told NPR on Friday.

But no one in charge of actually approving---or not approving---the pipeline has come to that conclusion yet, so we're stuck in a seemingly endless saga of indecision. However, it has to end with a final decision someday. Probably.

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