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NATIONAL
February 19, 2014 | By David Lauter
A state judge in Nebraska has dealt another setback to the long-debated Keystone XL pipeline, ruling that a state law passed in 2012 violated the state's constitution by giving the governor power to approve the pipeline's route. The pipeline “has become a political lightning rod for both supporters and opponents,” Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie F. Stacy wrote , “but the issues before this court have nothing to do with the merits of that pipeline.” Instead, she said, the case involved the Nebraska Constitution's grant of authority to the five-person Public Service Commission for “regulation of rates, service and general control of common carriers,” which includes pipelines.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 2014 | By Bob Pool
Los Angeles' chief surveyor stood above the newly unearthed brick and mortar pipe and carefully opened a 127-year-old leather book. "Here is the pipe. It's exactly where they said it was in 1887," said Tony Pratt, carefully pointing to a hand-drawn map in the ancient field guide. Freddie Eaton was the chief surveyor back then, the field guide noted. Eaton would eventually go on to become the city's mayor and a prominent figure in the expansion of L.A. Pratt pulled the old city surveyor's field report from city archives this week after reading a news account about the discovery of a remnant of the original Zanja Madre - the town's original water network - beneath a Chinatown construction site.
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NEWS
August 26, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee
The State Department has concluded that the highly controversial proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline would not have “significant impacts” on the environment, removing a major barrier to the construction of a $7-billion project that would ship oil sands crude oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. The State Department's findings, part of the final environmental impact statement for Keystone XL, were hailed by the oil industry and sharply criticized by environmentalists. Though other pipelines from Canada have sailed through the government approval process with little reaction from industry or environmentalists, Keystone XL has become a fraught issue in Washington and the Midwest, and it threatens to become a significant political liability for President Obama, whatever the outcome.  The final environmental impact statement is not the last word on the project.
OPINION
April 21, 2014 | Jonah Goldberg
On Good Friday, President Obama made a bad call. The State Department announced that it would delay its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the Nebraska Supreme Court rules in a case involving the route. The administration insists the decision to punt has nothing to do with politics. Pretty much everyone else thinks otherwise. Obama, who is rarely reluctant to act unilaterally when it benefits him politically, and who regularly brags about his red-tape cutting, is paralyzed by perhaps the only big shovel-ready jobs project he's been presented with.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 13, 2012 | By Dean Kuipers
With the U.S. Senate poised to begin debate on a bill that would greenlight the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as early as Tuesday, activists and other citizens have barraged the Senate with more than 350,000 petitions opposing the legislation in less than five hours. Activists Bill McKibben , Robert Redford and other celebs such as Kyra Sedgwick and Ian Somerhalder have joined the Natural Resources Defense Council, 350.org, the Sierra Club and other groups in coordinating the petition effort . The goal is 500,000 messages to the Senate by Tuesday.
NEWS
December 2, 2013 | By Evan Halper
WASHINGTON -- Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund executive and environmental activist from San Francisco, chose his venue carefully. “It is here President Obama drew his own personal line in the sand,” Steyer said as he convened a conference on the Keystone XL pipeline Monday at Georgetown University. The reference was to a speech by Obama in June in which the president declared he would approve Keystone only if backers of the pipeline could prove that the project would not accelerate climate change.
NATIONAL
August 16, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
The Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has quietly begun construction of the southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, installing segments near Livingston, Texas, company officials confirmed Thursday. “Construction started on Aug. 9. So we've now started construction in Texas,” TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard told the Los Angeles Times. The southern section of the pipeline received government approval in July. The first in a series of protests also was launched Thursday as opponents of the pipeline, designed to eventually carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands of northern Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, unfurled protest banners at two equipment staging yards in Texas and Oklahoma.
NEWS
March 22, 2012 | By Christi Parsons
President Obama said Thursday morning that his administration has assured the builder of the Keystone pipeline that the federal government will promptly review the southern leg of the project, which the company hopes to start building this summer. “The southern leg of it, we're making a priority,” Obama told a crowd of company officials, pipe workers and community members gathered here at the starting point of this stretch of the project. The northern portion of the project, Obama said, “we're going to have to review to make sure that the health and safety of the American people are protected.” The Obama administration has denied a permit for that northern pipeline, opposed by environmentalists because the original plans would have run it through environmentally sensitive lands.
NEWS
March 21, 2012 | By Christi Parsons
After being pummeled for months by both left and right over the Keystone XL pipeline, the Obama administration is trying to start over -- this time with a new name. In January, the administration turned down an application to build the pipeline from Canada's tar sands region to the Gulf Coast. TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline, more recently announced plans to go ahead with the southern portion of the route, starting from Cushing, Okla., which White House officials maintain is the more urgently needed part.
NATIONAL
September 5, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
Activists battling a new oil pipeline chained themselves to bulldozers in Texas on Wednesday, temporarily halting route-clearance work in the latest protest against the Keystone XL project to carry oil from the tar sands of northern Canada. But TransCanada, the company that hopes to build the pipeline, took an important step forward with a proposed new route for the northern segment of the line. The company says the route would skirt the delicate Nebraska Sandhills, the permeable sands that lie atop one of the nation's most important agricultural aquifers.
NATIONAL
April 18, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee and Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Friday delayed a decision on the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, citing a Nebraska state court decision that invalidated part of the project's route. The latest hold-up in the unusually lengthy review of the $5.3-billion oil pipeline almost certainly will push any decision until after the November midterm election, getting President Obama off a political hook. The White House has been pressed on one side by environmentalists who have turned opposition to the pipeline into a touchstone issue and on the other by conservative Democrats from energy-producing states who say approving Keystone XL would show the administration's commitment to job creation.
NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - A group of Democratic senators, including several facing tough re-election races, sent a letter Thursday to President Obama demanding approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline by May 31. The letter's forcefulness hints at the growing anxiety among many Democrats that they could lose control of the Senate in November. A decision by the end of May to approve the controversial $5.3-billion project would give embattled Democratic candidates in more conservative states a timely accomplishment to tout to skeptical constituents.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez
Utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was indicted Tuesday on a dozen felony counts connected to the massive 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people and ravaged a San Bruno, Calif., neighborhood. The utility was charged with violating federal pipeline safety laws, including failing to identify all potential threats to the aging, high-pressure line that sparked the disaster and not maintaining proper repair records, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2014 | By Los Angeles Times Staff
Utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Thursday it expects federal officials to bring criminal charges against the company in connection with a deadly 2010 gas-pipeline blast in San Bruno, Calif. In a statement, PG&E said it is negotiating with the U.S. Attorney's office. The San Francisco-based company "now expects that the U.S. Attorney will charge that PG&E's past operating practices violated the federal Pipeline Safety Act in areas such as record keeping, pipeline integrity management and identification of pipeline threats," it said in a statement.
NEWS
March 19, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON -- Nearly half of Democrats favor granting a permit for the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The $5.3-billion pipeline, which would ship oil from Hardisty, Canada, to Steele City, Neb., has undergone five years of reviews to get a presidential permit needed for infrastructure projects that cross a United States border. Environmentalists and some major Democratic donors and activists have opposed the pipeline, contending it would worsen greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.
NATIONAL
February 26, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
The State Department did not violate conflict-of-interest rules when it chose an outside contractor to conduct an environmental impact study of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the department's inspector general concluded in a report issued Wednesday. The conclusion came as a blow to environmental groups seeking to stop the pipeline's construction. They had urged an investigation of recent business ties between TransCanada, which plans to build it, and Environmental Resources Management, which conducted the environmental assessment.
NEWS
November 7, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas, Washington Bureau
In a sign of hardening skepticism toward the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a top Senate Democrat has sent a letter to the Obama administration asking about a possible conflict of interest between the pipeline operator and a company handling the environmental impact study of the project. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton last week cautioning that the environmental studies must be impartial.
OPINION
April 4, 2013 | By James Hansen
In March, the State Department gave the president cover to open a big spigot that will hitch our country to one of the dirtiest fuels on Earth for 40 years or more. The draft environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline acknowledges tar sands are nasty stuff for the environment, but concludes that the project is OK because this oil will get to market anyway - with or without a pipeline. A public comment period is underway through April 22, after which the department will prepare a final statement to help the administration decide whether the pipeline is in the "national interest.
NEWS
February 24, 2014 | By Michael. A Memoli and Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON -- President Obama told the nation's governors Monday that a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline could come in a matter of months, signaling he did not intend to let a recent court ruling derail his decision on whether to approve the much-debated project. The president's comments came during a question-and-answer session at the White House as part of the annual National Governors Assn. winter meeting. The session was private, but several participants said the president committed to making a decision in a matter of months.
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