Three Nebraska landowners could determine the fate of the $5.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline. Those three landowners are plaintiffs in a lawsuit contending that the Nebraska state legislature unconstitutionally gave Governor Heineman the authority to approve the pipeline. Nebraska's attorney general has attempted to get the case thrown out on two separate occasions, but has not succeeded. The trial is poised to begin on September 27th, next month.
The landowners are represented by Domina Law Group's own Brian Jorde.
"I don't think [people] realize how Nebraska is a big monkey wrench in all this," said Jorde.
Environmental groups, landowners, farmers, energy officials and elected officials are all anxiously awaiting a decision from the State Department. The State Department says that its review of the Keystone XL project will not be dictated by this trial.
Ultimately though, decisions regarding the exact routes of the pipeline are determined by the states themselves, which is why this particular case could prove so important.
In 2012, the Nebraska legislature took the pipeline decision out of the hands of the Public Service Commission (a group of five elected officials) and gave it to Gov. Heineman and the Department of Environmental Equality. LB 1161 also gave TransCanada the right of eminent domain over landowners.
Jorde, advocating on behalf of Nebraska landowners, argues that the state legislature did not have the right to give route-approval power to Heineman and therefore he should not have been authorized to give TransCanada the power of eminent domain over landowners. Regardless of the outcome of this case, Jorde says, the losing side is expected to appeal up to the Supreme Court.
To read The Washington Post article in full, visit Nebraska trial could delay Keystone XL pipeline.