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Nebraska court upholds Keystone XL pipeline. It's all up to Obama now.

  1. In a long-awaited ruling Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court threw out a legal challenge to the Keystone XL pipeline's route. That removes one of the last obstacles standing in the way of the project.
  2. The Obama administration had been waiting for the outcome of this case before deciding whether to approve or deny the controversial pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, down to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
  3. Nebraska landowners had earlier filed suit in court, arguing that Republican Gov. Dave Heineman had improperly approved the pipeline's route through the state when he called a special legislative section in 2012.
  4. A district court had originally agreed, saying that this was usually left to the state's Public Service Commission.
  5. But in its ruling today, the Nebraska Supreme Court could only get four of seven judges to agree that the challengers had legal standing. Five were needed to overturn the law. As such, the pipeline's route is upheld for now.
  6. The Obama administration now has to decide whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest. The White House gave federal agencies 14 days to weigh in on the pipeline after the Nebraska court case concluded.
  7. In recent weeks, Obama has sounded skeptical about the project, though he has not yet said whether he'll approve or reject it.
  8. Meanwhile, Republicans in both the House and Senate are working on bills to fast-track approval of the pipeline. The White House has vowed to veto these bills (and reiterated that threat Friday), but Republicans are unlikely to give up trying.

Further reading

-- 9 questions about the Keystone XL pipeline you were too embarrassed to ask

-- Will falling oil prices kill the Keystone XL pipeline?

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