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TransCanada filed paperwork today invoking eminent domain in nine counties in Nebraska today, including Antelope County.
If carried out, this would allow TransCanada access to the remaining land needed to construct, operate and maintain the Keystone XL pipeline.
Art and Helen Tanderup of Neligh, who hosted the Harvest the Hope concert against the pipeline in September, said they have not yet received any official notification from TransCanada on the eminent domain but expect it to arrive soon now that it has been filed. The deadline to file is Thursday.
“The only thing we’ve officially received was in December, and that was a promise that they would do this,” Art Tanderup said Tuesday afternoon. “Now, it’s happening today."
Tanderup said he does not believe a corporation should be given the power of eminent domain for private gain, especially company from a foreign country. TransCanada is the developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and is based in Calgary, Alberta.
“We knew this was coming, and we’ve been waiting and wondering what they’ll do,” Tanderup said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to not allow them to steal our land.”
TransCanada officials say they still need to acquire about 12 percent of land easements from Nebraska landowners. Tanderup disputes that number and said he knows of only about 60 percent of landowners who have agreed to terms.
Tanderup said he plans to fight the eminent domain.
“I’ve already been working on a lawsuit to be filed in Antelope County and will be one of several plaintiffs on that,” he said. “It’s my understanding that we’ll get an injunction until that lawsuit is carried out in district court.”
The filing of eminent domain was TransCanada’s first action since the last week’s 4-3 decision in the Nebraska Supreme Court, which reversed a previous ruling that struck down the law used to approve the route.
The law requires five judges to be in agreement find the legislation unconstitutional, but only four judges did so. None of the three remaining judges voted for or against.
“They didn’t do anything, which is unheard of,” Tanderup said. “I think now that this (eminent domain filing) has happened, the other judges will have to make a decision. I’m positive at least one of the three will be in our favor and say the law is unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, Tanderup is still busy working on zoning procedure in Antelope County. He’s hoping for consultation zones, which he says would protect the citizens of Antelope County at the local level.
“This isn’t just about the TransCanada pipeline. It’s about presenting a plan for pipeline zoning in Antelope County,” he said.
The Tanderups plan to attend Tuesday night’s Antelope County Planning Commission meeting. Among new business on the agenda is the review of pipeline regulations.