Attorney Brian Jorde was recently featured in an article on
Prairie Fire for his opinion on LB 1161. Three Nebraska taxpayers are filing lawsuits against the state because of this legislative bill that was approved by the governor in April 2012. LB 1161 could potentially determine the locations of pipelines in the state. The bill was introduced to amend a 1963 Nebraska law (§ 57-1101) that granted pipelines eminent domain, regardless of whether the company was foreign or domestic.
LB 1 was then passed in November 2011, that would allow five elected officials from the Public Service Commission (PSC) to regulate and evaluate new pipeline routes, but because TransCanada had received their pipeline permit prior to this law's passage, LB 1 did not apply. President Obama shortly after denied TransCanada's permit, which made them susceptible to the parameters of LB 1.
In 2012, LB 1161 was passed, which exempted TransCanada from LB 1's regulations. One benefit for TransCanada is that LB 1161 would allow eminent domain immediately after the governor approved a pipeline route. Brian Jorde and the team at Domina Law Group filed the three lawsuits for Nebraska taxpayers. These lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of LB 1161.
Jorde made it clear that there could have been hundreds of lawsuits in this case. LB 1161 will affect hundreds of people, and hundreds could have been included in this lawsuit, but for case-management purposes the plaintiffs were kept to three.
Many points are debated about TransCanada's Keystone pipeline. Domina Law Group's primary objective with this issue is to encourage laws that are constitutional, rather than stop the pipeline altogether.
According to Jorde, "We have to have laws that are constitutional. If we encourage the practice of unconstitutional laws, that affects all of us."
The full article can be viewed at A Bad Idea, Poorly Executed.