The Nebraska Supreme Court today, by default, let stand a law meant to clear a route for the Keystone XL pipeline across the state and an underlying major aquifer.
I say default because the Supreme Court voted 4-3 in favor of landowners who’d challenged the law as unconstitutional. But, in Nebraska, five votes are necessary to declare a state law unconstitutional. Thus, the decision had the effect of vacating a lower court ruling that also sided with landowners.
The line will carry Canadian tar sands across the U.S. to Texas refineries that will ship finished products overseas. Much of the pipe has been made by (and already purchased from) the Welspun plant in Little Rock. Republicans have touted the line as a economic stimulus, but it’s job creation stimulus is slight, except for construction of the line.
Republican politicians joined forces with the Koch billionaires to push the project. The Kochs are a huge energy combine and the biggest leaseholder in the Alberta region where tar sands are extracted. Canadian experts say they’ll be a huge beneficiary from Keystone because it will encourage a general rise in tar sand production in Canada.
Tom Cotton made the Keystone a favorite campaign theme in his successful race for Senate. Small coincidence, his campaign press spokesman, David Ray, just got hired to lead the Koch-financed Arkansas arm of its Americans for Prosperity. A Twitter message from AFP Arkansas this morning urged congressional approval of the Keystone pipeline. The Republican candidates that AFP spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect to the Arkansas legislature should be retweeting that shortly. I noted that AFP Arkansas touted Keystone with a message say oil exploration was down on public lands in the U.S. Well you might ask what that has to do with moving Canadian tar across sensitive Nebraska territory for energy billionaires to refine for sale to China.