TransCanada announced that the deadline for accepting current easement offers will be May 14th, saying that future easement offers will be much smaller. Nebraska is the only state remaining in Keystone XL's path where there are still holdouts refusing to accept the Canadian oil giant's easement offers.
TransCanada has offered easements as high as $250,000. The company upped their offers in order to compel more landowners to sign easements, which TransCanada claims has inflated the price far above the actual land values and commodity prices.
The current route for the Keystone XL pipeline goes from Alberta, Canada through Montana and South Dakota to its destination in Steele City, Nebraska. TransCanada has obtained 100 percent of its easements in Montana and South Dakota, but is still waiting on the remaining 22 percent of Nebraska landowners to accept easements.
Of course, the onus wouldn't be on TransCanada to coerce landowners into signing easements once the pipeline gains presidential approval, if it does get presidential approval. TransCanada has the option of simply waiting for President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to permit KXL, but has instead implemented scare tactics to get the Nebraska holdouts to "hurry up and sign."
According to Attorney Brian Jorde, "Nebraska remains the state with landowners holding out for fairer easement terms. It's no surprise TransCanada is threatening lower payments in an attempt to force Nebraska hold-outs to hurry and sign up by mid-May."
And it's not just about the money. According to Bold Nebraska Director Jane Kleeb, Nebraska families have real concerns over the health and safety effects the pipeline could have.
For more on this story, read it in the Lincoln Journal Star.