TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Investigation
For over three years now Domina Law Group pc llo has been working with landowners and concerned groups in investigating legal issues regarding TransCanada Corp.’s assertion it can exert powers of eminent domain to take US Citizens land for its proposed tar sands sludge pipeline. Nebraska has been and continues to be the battleground for this international issue.
We have carefully researched the legal issues and interplay of Federal, State, and Local laws regarding whether or not a foreign company whose project will not benefit American citizens can condemn lands in furtherance of its profits as well as the relationship between Federal and State authority over safety and siting regulations.
TransCanada may try to take your land soon. They may ask you for permission to survey your land or they may try to get you to sign an Easement where you sign all your rights away for a one-time nominal payment. Contact Us if you want to know more about these issues and how to negotiate for a fair deal and how to protect your land from an oil spill.
Nebraskans must be informed about their rights and landowners and citizens. Contact Us now to learn more about what tools are available to you when dealing with TransCanada.
When evaluating a Pipeline Companies construction project that proposes to traverse multiple states and privately owned land there are many issues that must be addressed either through legislative initiative and/or through the courts such as:
- Who controls the siting and routing of oil pipelines?
- What bonding requirements are there to address effects of construction?
- What systems are in place for emergency response for spills?
- How will land owners know there are fairly compensated for a taking of their land?
- What can Landowners do if they do not want to sell to TransCanada?
- How do value the financial impact of an Oil pipeline running under your land?
- Who ultimately bares the liability for spills after TransCanada is back in Alberta?
- What is the reclamation and removal plan?
- How can TransCanada guarantee no spills when removing the pipeline?
- Do I need a Pipeline Lawyer who understands Pipeline Law to protect my rights?
- How much money is the Pipeline Company offering landowners?
- What are Oil Pipeline Companies paying per linear foot?
Brian Jorde Speaks about the Keystone XL Pipeline and Landowner Rights:
Some of Domina Law's Work Below:
Nebraskans File Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of LB 1161 Related to Pipelines
Three Nebraska landowners filed suit in two Nebraska courts challenging a new state law governing routes for crude oil pipelines and the use of eminent domain for pipeline routes across the State. The Nebraska Legislature's 2012 law, LB 1161 gives the Governor a role in route selection and authority to allow a pipeline company to take land from Nebraskans for pipeline operations. Domina Law Group pc llo serves as legal counsel for the landowners.
Timeline of Landowners’ Constitutional Challenge of LB 1161
- May 23, 2012 - Landowners file initial Complaint against Governor, the DEQ, and the StateTreasurer
- July 11, 2012 - State of Nebraska Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the State Defendants files a Motion to Dismiss the landowners’ lawsuit
- December 31, 2012 - Court issues Order overruling Attorney General’s Motion to Dismiss the landowners’ lawsuit
- March 18, 2013 - Landowners file their Second Amended Complaint Challenging the constitutionality of LB 1161
- March 25, 2013 - Nebraska Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the State Defendants files its Second Motion to Dismiss Landowners’ lawsuit
- May 3, 2013 - All legal briefing and arguments completed regarding the State’s second Motion to Dismiss
The next steps in the lawsuit are as follows:
1. District Court Judge to decide whether or not portions of the landowners’ lawsuit should be dismissed.The next steps in the lawsuit are as follows:
2. Presuming the lawsuit or any portion of the lawsuit can move forward, the parties will agree on a stipulation of facts then draft briefs further arguing the constitutionality of LB 1161 with the trial expected in August, 2013.
Does a Pipeline Company really need a survey of your land?
David Domina and Brian Jorde also cautioned landowners against allowing any entry on their land by TransCanada representatives. "They say all they want is a little look, and will give you $500 or so for the privilege. Then they ask you to provide your social security number. What do you suppose they can learn about you once they have the pass key to information about you that most people would never dream is public!", Dave Domina said.
Brian Jorde added, "Everyone knows that in 2012 it is not necessary for them to walk your farm to decide on the pipeline route. It has been flown, photographed, viewed from space, and scrutinized with soil maps, topography maps and every other kind of resource. The goal is to break down barriers and get landowners to say yes the first time because after that it is so much easier to manipulate someone."
The Globe and Mail: NE Keystone Pipeline Fighter:"I Wouldn't Take $5-Million" (5/10/13)
OWH: Elected Officials in Rural Nebraska Pass Anti-Keystone Pipeline Resolution (4/30/13)
OnEarth.Org: Oil Company Relies on "Preacher" to get Land from Farmers (4/15/13)
Business Insider: Plummeting Oil Sands Profitability Raises Questions about Keystone XL (03/31/13)
Lincoln Journal Star: State, Landowners Clash Over Pipeline Siting Law (09/15/12)
Lawsuit Update (09/14/12)
Omaha World Herald: TransCanada Sweetens Pot (6/17/12)
1011: Lawsuit Challenges Nebraska's Pipeline Review Law (5/25/12)
Omaha World Herald: Critics Challenge Pipeline Review Law (5/24/12)
Bloomberg: Nebraska Landowners Challenge Pipeline Law, Lawyer Says (5/23/12)
Associated Press: Lawsuit Challenges Nebraska's Pipeline Review Law (5/23/12)
Lincoln Journal Star: Keystone XL Pipeline Opponents File Lawsuit (5/23/12)
Nebraska Radio Network: Lawsuit Challenges Legislature's Effort to Jump Start Keystone XL Pipeline (5/23/12)
Nebraska Watch Dog: Landowners Sue State Over Keystone XL Pipeline Process (5/23/12)
The Progressive Farmer: Lawsuit Challenges Nebraska Keystone Pipeline Law (5/23/12)
WOWT: Pipeline Opponenets File Lawsuit (5/23/12)
Reuters: Nebraska Residents Challenge Keystone Pipeline Law (5/23/12)
David Domina KLIN Radio Interview 5/23/12 on Pipeline Lawsuit
Platts: Nebraska Landowners File Lawsuit Against State for New Pipeline Legislation (5/23/12)
Pipeline Safety and Risks
TransCanada continues to make bold safety claims about Keystone XL as it did about the original Keystone pipeline, its first ever tar sands pipeline: “Keystone XL Pipeline will be the safest and most advanced pipeline operation in North America.” Would it not be common sense that any pipeline built today should by definition be safer than a pipeline built yesterday? Doesn’t basic evolution in technology, materials, and safety devices make such a statement obvious? Hopefully all construction projections are more safe than those of yesteryear but anything that is constructed ultimately fails sooner or later.
Do you suppose that Exxon told the good people of Mayflower, Arkansas that the pipeline they were building 60 years ago was the safest in North America? Of course there were. What about Enbridge tar sands pipeline in Kalamazoo, Michigan – safest in North America when constructed correct? Well those safe pipelines have led to over $1,000,000,000 in clean-up efforts, devastated the environment, and wreaked havoc on thousands of people’s health and lives.
In 2010, TransCanada stated that its original Keystone pipeline would “meet or exceed world-class safety and environmental standards.”
In its first year, that pipeline experienced 12 separate spills in the United States – nearly one every month. One of those spills alone released 21,000 gallons of dirty tar sands oil. Between the U.S. and Canada, the original Keystone pipeline had “over 30 spills” in its first year, according to a report by Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute.
Since then, the line was temporarily shut down in 2012, a
few weeks ago, and just
the other day.
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) previously shut the pipeline down under a Corrective Action Order stating continued operation of the pipeline would be “hazardous to life, property and the environment.” It was the newest pipeline to ever be shut down by PHMSA for being a threat to public safety.
If you have been affected by a pipeline spill, or leak, or accident, call us today to find out what options are available to you and what compensation is available contact us today.
Landowners - Know Your Rights!
A new group of landowners has formed to ban together to secure the best easement agreement and terms possible should the pipeline project go through. Click here for more information: www.NebraskaEasement.org
TransCanada has been contacting landowners requesting authorization to enter upon private property and conduct surveys and other tests. You DO NOT need to sign any papers nor do you need to allow them to enter on your land. Further, in the future expect threats in some cases and scare tactics designated to pressure landowners to sign easements when the landowners do not fully understand all of the ramifications both near term and far. Contact a lawyer if you are being approached with an Easement Agreement and understand your rights. You DO NOT need to sign anything at any time!!
You DO NOT have to even talk to TransCanada or respond to any of their inquiries let alone sign any Easement Agreement!!
The proposed easement agreements, both temporary and permanent, do not adequately address the real financial and environmental impact that would be caused by the pipeline construction, operation or removal.
If you are a landowner or potential affected party you may have legal rights and remedies pursuant to TransCanada’s project. We are telling all of our clients to IGNORE TransCanada's "final" offers. IF TransCanada gets approval for the pipeline and you have not signed an Easement Agreement ask yourself this question: "Would I be more fairly compensated by a jury made up from among my neighbors or would TransCanada give me the fairest deal in my individual negotiations with them?" We hope the answer to this is clear to you. Force the best price and terms by holding out and forcing a condemnation proceeding where you actually have a chance.
Do the Figures Tell the Story?
TransCanada and its Early Proposals
1. Early information suggests that TransCanada’s buying spree across Nebraska is only at bargain basement prices. This appears to be the math.
2. TransCanada needs to cross about 250 miles of this state with its KeystoneXL Pipeline. At 5,280 feet per mile, times 250 miles, the company expects to have 1,320,000 linear feet of pipeline across Nebraska.
3. Recently, the company appears to be offering about $16.00 per linear foot. At this rate to purchase its temporary construction easements, and its permanent pipeline easements, the company would spend $21,120,000.00 to cross the state.
4. Now, $21,120,000.00 is a lot of money. But, in a project slated to cost tens of billions of dollars, can anyone really believe this is the company’s final position to Nebraska landowners?
5. Imagine the amounts spent by TransCanada to:
5.1. Lobby the United States Congress so much that TransCanada got its pipeline into a bill passed by the House of Representatives.
5.2. Lobby the State Department, and the President, for a Presidential Permit.
5.3. Feed the political machine with contributions to office holders and office seekers just at the federal level to get the company’s way.
5.4. Lobby the Legislature of:
5.4.4. North Dakota;
5.4.5. South Dakota;
5.4.6. Nebraska- including a special session;
6. What did it take to persuade the governors in most of the states along the route to want to try to facilitate TransCanada’s construction, instead of protect their own people?
7. What did a special legislative session of the Nebraska Legislature cost TransCanada? What did they have to spend to get the special session redone with a last minute amendment that appears to have duped the Legislature?
8. It is unimaginable that TransCanada’s investment in real estate interests in the acquisition of easements across Nebraska, could command so little money by comparison to the enormous expenditures to the company in other areas of the pipeline project.
Other Tips Include:
1. Do not take phone calls from TransCanada or return them. Silence is the best option at this point. Keep all written correspondence TransCanada sends and keep it organized in chronological order. Have a file and think of it as evidence.
2. Do not be seduced into any oral conversation. Force TransCanada to put any and all requests in writing. Record all oral exchanges with TransCanada representatives and contractors in a note taking system or journal including the time of day of the call and who called.
3. Ignoring TransCanada is the best option. They have no right to come on to your land. If they do, you can call the local authorities and file trespassing charges against them. If they are on your land without your permission take photographs if possible to document.
Contact Us Now to Discuss Your Rights