President Obama rejected TransCanada's proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline on Jan. 18, 2012. The deadline Congress had set for a decision, he said, was "rushed and arbitrary" -- the result of Republican maneuvering in Congress to force the president's hand.
Was Obama thinking about Nebraska when he did it? He probably wasn't thinking about Nebraska. But Congress' attempt to rush the president's decision, and the president's "Screw you, Congress!" move, had big implications for Nebraska, and the section of KXL that TransCanada's current plans show going right through the state. The impact of that two-year-old face-off continues to wreak havoc with pipeline proponents' efforts to push their project forward -- most recently, with a Nebraska court ruling this week that threatens to reset the Keystone XL game clock.
The decision cheered those working to stop the pipeline. "I opened a very nice nice bottle of red wine," said NextGen Climate Action senior advisor Chris Lehane, at a press conference Thursday morning. "I took a sip, read a line, took another sip. I read every line, and I felt pretty good at the end of the process. They no longer have a path in a previously approved state that is critical to their plan. Reading it you can see how even in a state like Nebraska, politics are evolving and changing."