As Harper prepares to press for Keystone XL, Nebraska judge rejects pipeline

Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto before they deliver...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto before they deliver a speech to media, during an official welcoming ceremony for Harper, at the National Palace in Mexico City February 18, 2014. Harper is on a two-day visit to Mexico. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

TOLUCA, Mexico – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to press U.S. President Barack Obama at the Three Amigos Summit on the drawn-out review process for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline was sidetracked when a Nebraska judge struck down approval of the pipeline’s route through the state.

A judge ruled Wednesday that the Nebraska governor’s approval of the proposed route was invalid and should have instead been made by the Nebraska Public Service Commission – yet another potential roadblock in a review process that has been going on for five years.

Ahead of the summit Harper told reporters he would raise the Keystone issue with Obama and repeat the same message he’s made publicly – that Canada won’t take no for an answer.

Responding to Wednesday's news out of Nebraska, Harper’s director of communications said: “We don’t yet have the details on this decision so it’s difficult to comment, but I can say that the benefits of the project remain clear.

“This project will create thousands of jobs and economic opportunities in Canada and the U.S.,” Jason MacDonald told QMI Agency. “It’s a project that is in the interest of both countries and that can be developed in an environmentally sound manner.”

Harper hasn’t attempted to hide his frustration with the long review process.

Environmentalists have threatened Obama over the pipeline, saying he wouldn’t be forgiven if it's approved.

However, the U.S. State Department recently concluded the project wouldn’t significantly affect global greenhouse gas emissions.

Harper and Obama are in Mexico for the North American Leaders’ Summit, where officially the agenda includes broadening economic co-operation among the three countries and further integrating their energy sectors.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto wants more foreign investment from Canada and an agreement from all countries to act as a bloc when making economic decisions.


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