TransCanada announced today that the company will pull out of the lawsuit filed by over 100 Nebraska landowners, including several from Holt and Antelope Counties - challenging their right to use eminent domain to seize land for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
TransCanada will instead go through the Public Service Commission (PSC) review process.
Mark Cooper, a TransCanada spokesman, said the company is choosing to seek commission approval after “careful consideration” of the company’s circumstances. Cooper said that despite having won approval for the route from now-former Governor Dave Heineman, “there has been uncertainty in the courts” about the legality of that process.
“TransCanada realizes that LB 1161 is unconstitutional,” said Art Tanderup of Neligh. “This is a victory for landowners standing up to prevent a foreign corporation from taking their land for corporate greed through eminent domain. TransCanada pushed LB1161 through the legislature to avoid using the Public Service Commission procedure that they now want to follow. We believe that the PSC will not allow Keystone XL to be placed in the Sand Hills or over the Ogallala Aquifer but are confident President Obama will reject the pipeline before the PSC even has a chance to conduct a review.”
Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska called this a "major victory for Nebraska landowners who refused to back down in the face of bullying by a foreign oil company.”
“It has long been clear that TransCanada has no legal route through the state of Nebraska and no legal right to use eminent domain against landowners. Now they’ve recognized that they’ve lost in Nebraska and are desperately trying another tactic to see their risky pipeline built through our state," Kleeb said. "We are happy to continue this fight in the Nebraska PSC, but we are confident that it will never come to that. We know President Obama understands that this pipeline is all risk and no reward for Americans. We call on him to do the right thing now and fully reject the permit once and for all.”