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TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Investigation

UPDATE: Two New Complaints Filed in TransCanada KXL Case

Other Recent News

For over four years 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. The lawsuit filed to defend the Nebraska Constituion and protect indivdual liberties and landowner property rights is currently in the Nebraska Supreme Court in the briefing stage. Oral argument is likley late fall of 2014 or very early 2015.

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?

Watch Brian Jorde and Nebraska landowners on MSNBC's "The Ed Show"

Learn more about Domina Law's Work on Tarsands Oil Pipelines:

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

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."

Pipeline News & Updated Trial News

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 safer 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:

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:

5.4.1. Alberta;
5.4.2. Saskatchewan;
5.4.3. Montana;
5.4.4. North Dakota;
5.4.5. South Dakota;
5.4.6. Nebraska- including a special session;
5.4.7. Kansas
5.4.8. Oklahoma;
5.4.9. Texas;

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



Timeline of TransCanada's Contradictions

According to TransCanada, not only will the pipeline raise gas prices, but it will lower it; per TransCanada, is both "impossible" and "easy" to re-route the pipeline.

September 17, 2009: According to TransCanada's own analysis, the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be a boon for corporate profits, but a burden for American consumers.
TransCanada, in testimony to the Canadian National Energy Board, "Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally [the US Midwest], are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil. Access to the [US Gulf Coast] via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in [the Midwest market] by removing this oversupply. This is expected to increase the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude."

December 31, 2009: TransCanada admits Keystone XL would raise gas prices.
TransCanada submits its first permit application. In the appendix to its application to the Canadian National Energy Board, the company writes, "A Canadian heavy crude producer is expected to realize an increase in the heavy crude price of approximately $3.00 per barrel by avoiding a discount at the [United States Gulf Coast]."

June 2010: Without explaining its 180 degree turn, TransCanada now touts a new study that claims Keystone XL would lower gas prices.
From a study published on TransCanada's website, "supplies from reliable sources leads to lower costs, thereby putting downward pressure on prices."

July 21, 2011: TransCanada begins bullying landowners and threatening eminent domain authority.
TransCanada in a letter to Nebraska landowner R. Joe Moller, "This letter is Keystone's final offer, and it will remain open for one month after the date of this letter or until you reject it. While we hope to acquire this property through negotiation, if we are unable to do so, we will be forced to invoke the power of eminent domain and will initiate condemnation proceedings against this property promptly after the expiration of this one month period."

September 9, 2011: Despite its documented bullying, TransCanada now claims that negotiations with landowners have been voluntary and takes credit for successfully appropriating huge chunks of American land.
TransCanada in a press release, "To date, through direct discussions with affected land owners, Keystone XL has negotiated voluntary easement agreements with over 90 percent of Nebraskan landowners and 95 per cent of those landowners in the Sand Hills."

September 26, 2011: Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's President of Energy and Oil Pipelines, says the route has been "exhaustively analyzed" and claims it would be "next to impossible" to now change it.
Alex Pourbaix in an interview with Postmedia News, "I reminded the governor that this route has been exhaustively analyzed…It would be next to impossible to go back and suggest that any of those inferior routes [be taken]."

According to the Financial Post, "TransCanada contends it would be unacceptable for Nebraska lawmakers to pass 'after the fact' legislation to force changes to Keystone XL's route if it is approved at the federal level."

Said Alex Pourbaix, "I think the likelihood of that occurring is very slim…What possible new information would be gained by having a state-level siting review?"

October 11, 2011: Pourbaix meets with Nebraska State Senators and once again claims that moving the route would "jeopardize the project."
Alex Pourbaix at a meeting with Nebraska State Senators, "We understand that the best solution from your perspective is to move the route. We don't believe that is an option for us…the Sandhills are a challenge, but pipelines are built where there is surface water all the time."

With regards to passing a pipeline siting law: "To do it now seriously jeopardizes the project."

October 18, 2011: Pourbaix, again, deems moving the route "impossible."
Alex Pourbaix in a letter to Nebraska State Senators Dubas, Langemeier, and Sullivan, "As we discussed in the meeting, at this late date in the federal Presidential Permit process, it is impossible for us to move the route to avoid the Sandhills."

November 14, 2011: But, wait…TransCanada now announces that they will change the route and that Nebraskans will "play an important role in determining the final route."
Alex Pourbaix in a TransCanada press release, "I can confirm the route will be changed and Nebraskans will play an important role in determining the final route."

November 29, 2011: TransCanada CEO, Russ Girling, admits that re-routing the pipeline is easy.
As told to Bloomberg, "TransCanada Corp. may be able to win approval of its Keystone XL pipeline in six to nine months as the company negotiates with Nebraska and U.S. officials over a new route, Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said."

Said Girling, "We can re-route this pipeline quite easily."

December 2, 2011: Pourbaix can't promise that the pipeline won't be for foreign export.
Alex Pourbaix in testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee when pressed by Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) to guarantee that the Keystone pipeline would not be for foreign export, December 2, 2011, "In many ways, I can't do that because I am merely the shipper of this oil and that is a question…" When asked to make it a condition of their agreement with their shipping companies, Pourbaix replied, "No, I can't do that. We've already agreed to our shipping arrangements."

February 2, 2012: TransCanada confirms that they will not be using any steel from India to help build the pipeline.
TransCanada's government relations staff in an email to Energy and Commerce Committee staff said, "We have not sourced any steel from India."

February 17, 2012: Just days later, TransCanada issues a press release, which shows that 10% of the steel will come from Welspun, India.
According to the press release, 10% of the steel will come from Welspun, India and 16% from Italy.

March 2013: Canada claims that a minimum of 20% of the crude that Keystone XL transports will be American oil.
According to E&E News, "A memo prepared for Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver's March visits to Chicago and Houston, released by the Pembina Institute green group, states that 'at least 20 percent of the crude carried by Keystone XL would be American.' During both U.S. speeches that month, Oliver described that crude cargo as 'from the U.S. Bakken.'"

April 2013: Just a month later, Oliver replaced the 20 percent minimum with "up to 30 percent" in order to entice American supporters.
According to E&E News, Oliver's briefing notes changed to include the 30 percent talking point.

November 7, 2011: A TransCanada rep says that Keystone XL is a necessary part of tar sands expansion.
TransCanada's Shawn Howard was quoted as posing the question, "Why would companies sign 18- to 20-year contracts to move oil where it's not needed? Why would we invest money if it wasn't needed?"

March, 2013: Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says that Keystone XL is part of the infrastructure that is needed in order to expand the industry.
Per the New York Times, "Briefing notes prepared for the natural resources minister, Joe Oliver, before a trip to Chicago to promote Keystone XL in March, noted that 'in order for crude oil production to grow, the North American pipeline network must be expanded through initiatives, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline project.'"

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