The Keystone XL Pipeline And Nebraska

When President Obama rejected the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, the issue became a political lightning rod, but lost in the national media coverage and attacks from politicians was Nebraska's role in the delay.

The president denied the permit earlier this week, not on the merits of it, but because of an arbitrary deadline set that didn't offer enough time to study the new route through western Nebraska.

Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, who was in Omaha Friday, is disappointed with the president, who in his mind could have ruled "yes" and "not yet" at the same time.

“What the president could have done is offered conditional approval for the rest of the pipeline, it's good to go, and when Nebraska makes its decision, we'll just build that in."

Others blame Nebraska. "The governor of Nebraska called a special session.” In an MSNBC interview, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Nebraska's decisions to block it offered the president no other choice. The pipeline will pass through Montana from Canada.

"These jokers in Congress that are trying to force the hand are just making mischief,” said Gov. Schweitzer. “They're not helping develop energy policy."

“He wants to blame everything on Nebraska," said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, who doesn't see it that way. He says moving the route in Nebraska shouldn't impact the rest of the route.

"TransCanada is perfectly willing to start building. There's three states above and below us they have to go through. By then, we'll be ready a long time before they get here."

On the day the state announced it will take two years to clean up and monitor a December spill of 119,000 gallons of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel near Nemaha from pipelines operated by a different company, few are talking about environmental impact anymore, the one issue that seemed to be front and center just a few months ago.

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