Keystone XL access through Nebraska shut down by judge

Keystone XL access through Nebraska shut down by judge – Business – CBC News.

CBC News

Oil pipeline faces prospect of more delays because of staunch opposition

The Canadian Press

Feb 19, 2014

The Keystone XL pipeline faced stiff opposition in Nebraska, until its governor cleared a route. A judge overruled that decision today.

The Keystone XL pipeline faced stiff opposition in Nebraska, until its governor cleared a route. A judge overruled that decision today. (Canadian Press)

The hurdles standing before the Keystone XL pipeline project grew ever taller Wednesday as a Nebraska court dealt the long-delayed project another significant setback.

A district judge ripped up a state law that might have been used to force landowners to allow the pipeline on their property.

As a result, the project could find itself in limbo indefinitely, even if the Obama administration allows the pipeline to cross the U.S. border — a key step that is itself by no means certain.

Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy declared unconstitutional a law that had given Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman the power to push the project through private land.

Now, unless the law is reinstated by a higher court, Calgary-based pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. might be forced to seek permission from every last landowner on the route.

Further lawsuits seem inevitable, regardless of what President Barack Obama decides.

Stacy stressed that the ruling had nothing to do with the merits of the pipeline and everything to do with the state constitution.

“TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has become a political lightning rod for both supporters and opponents of the pipeline, but the issues before this court have nothing to do with the merits of that pipeline,” she wrote in the introduction to the ruling.

“The constitutional issues before this court will not require consideration of the current pipeline debate, nor will the decision in this case resolve that debate.”

As it stands, TransCanada has settled with landowners in five of six U.S. states through which the pipeline is supposed to pass, as well as with more than two-thirds of the affected landowners in Nebraska.

But a minority have kept fighting, despite skyrocketing offers of compensation.

The company had been offering six times the original price for access to people’s property, presumably to line up as many easement deals as possible in the event that Obama approved the pipeline.

‘Disagree with the decision’

TransCanada, which has complained it’s been losing money as the plan sits idle, had been hoping to get building during this year’s construction season.

‘We are disappointed and disagree with the decision. We will now analyze the judgment and decide what next steps may be taken,” said James Millar, a spokesman for TransCanada. 

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a supporter of the pipeline, said he supported the decision of the state’s attorney general to appeal the ruling. 

The southern leg of the pipeline is already operational. But oil must still be transported by rail from Alberta through the northern U.S. before it can be sent by pipeline to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

The issue came up at a North American leaders’ summit in Mexico, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper had said he intended to press Obama to approve the project.

While Obama acknowledged that the U.S. review has been “extensive,” he defended the process, saying “these are how we make these decisions about something that could potentially have significant impact on America’s national economy and our national interests

There’s a 90-day period during which U.S. government departments can raise concerns about the pipeline, before the State Department makes a final recommendation to the president.

However, administration officials have made it clear that there is no set deadline for State, or the president, to make the final call.

There is some speculation in Washington that Obama might want to delay the politically sensitive decision until after November’s midterm elections.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

US Doomsday Nuclear Bunkers Sales Soar by 1000%

By Daily Mail Reporter
1st April 2011

Reservations for a doomsday bunker in the U.S. have rocketed since Japan‘s catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

The 137,000sq ft bunker – designed to house 950 people for a year and withstand a 50 megaton blast – is currently being built under the grasslands of Nebraska.

Vivos, the California-based company behind it, is taking $5,000 (£3,100) deposits, which will have to be topped up to $25,000 (£15,600) to secure a place.

Cower in luxury: Vivos's doomsday shelters are to be kitted out with all the modern conveniences American consumers would expect  

Cower in luxury: Vivos’s doomsday shelters are to be kitted out with all the modern conveniences American consumers would expect

Social space: The company is building one bunker under the grasslands of Nebraska with the capacity to house 950 for a year  

Social space: The company is building one bunker under the grasslands of Nebraska with the capacity to house 950 for a year

Paranoia: Vivos says applications for its luxury bunkers have gone up 1,000 per cent since the Japan earthquake  

Paranoia: Vivos says applications for its luxury bunkers have gone up 1,000 per cent since the Japan earthquake

It says applications have soared 1000 per cent in the wake of the disasters in Japan. And the bunkers will be kitted out with all the modern conveniences the American consumer has come to expect.

Once finished the complex will feature four levels of residential suites, a dental and medical center, kitchens, pet kennels, a bakery, a prayer room, a fully stocked wine cellar and even a prison to detain any misbehaving residents.

There will also be a 350ft tall lookout tower so residents can see what is going on around them – and if it’s safe to emerge.

‘People are afraid of the earth-changing events and ripple effects of the earthquake, which led to tsunamis, the nuclear meltdown, and which will lead to radiation and health concerns,’ said Vivos CEO Robert Vicino.

Self-contained community: Once finished the bunker complex will feature four levels of residential suites, a dental and medical center, kitchens, pet kennels, a bakery, a prayer room and a fully stocked wine cellar  

Self-contained community: Once finished the bunker complex will feature four levels of residential suites, a dental and medical center, kitchens, pet kennels, a bakery, a prayer room and a fully stocked wine cellar

Limited space: The firm is taking $5,000 deposits for their bunker, which will have to be topped up to $25,000 to secure a final spot  

Limited space: The firm is taking $5,000 deposits for their bunker, which will have to be topped up to $25,000 to secure a final spot

The news comes after low levels of radiation were detected in milk in two U.S. states, the first sign Japan’s nuclear crisis is affecting American food.

At least 15 states have now reported radioactive particles from the stricken Fukushima reactor. Earlier in the week the Environment Protection Agency confirmed radiation was found in air filters in Alabama and in rainwater in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Though the trace levels are very low and not hazardous to health, residents have been warned not to use rainwater which has been collected in cisterns.

Rebuilding society: The bunker even features a prison in case any residents misbehave and become a liability to others  

Rebuilding society: The bunker even features a prison in case any residents misbehave and become a liability to others

Safe space: The company claims its bunkers are designed to withstand a range of catastrophic events, from nuclear terrorism to the gravitational havoc caused of a rogue planet sweeping across the solar system  

Safe space: The company claims its bunkers are designed to withstand a range of catastrophic events, from nuclear terrorism to the gravitational havoc caused of a rogue planet sweeping across the solar system

Intimate: Space is limited in the bunker, the floor-plan of which resembles a youth hostel in this graphic  

Intimate: Space is limited in the bunker, the floor-plan of which resembles a youth hostel in this graphic

Mr Vicino added: ‘Where it ends, I don’t know. Does it lead to economic collapse? A true economic collapse would lead to anarchy, which could lead to 90 per cent of the population being killed off.’

The company claims its bunkers are designed to withstand a range of catastrophic events, from nuclear terrorism to the gravitational havoc a rogue planet sweeping across the solar system could cause.

Interest in doomsday bunkers has grown over recent years, but critics say developers are simply trying to cash in on public panic. Oleg Repchenko, the head of Russian analytical centre ‘Indicators of Real Estate Market’, told The Voice of Russia: ‘These fears emerged in the US a long time ago back in the Cold War era.

‘September 11, 2001 has seriously affected the psychology of common Americans and part of the population is afraid of disasters and terrorist attacks.

‘Panicking is quite typical for Americans even when a disaster happens not on their territory but across the ocean in Japan. Once something terrifying happens it makes people think more about their future.’

Japan earthquake and tsunami: Sales of doomsday nuclear bunkers soars 1000% | Mail Online.