Countless media sources have been featuring stories on the Keystone pipeline and Nebraska's debate over the constitutionality of a bill that allowed its approval, but today, Western Livestock Journal covered the story from a different angle – from that of the rancher.
Dave Domina of Domina Law Group is representing three individuals in a lawsuit against the state, primarily over the
constitutionality of LB 1161. Those three individuals just happen to be a rancher, a farmer, and a farmer/rancher, and they represent all Nebraska landowners.
Amongst the influx of pipeline coverage in the media, something has been lost – the element of the landowner and his property rights. Let's not forget that the crux of the issue is the constitutional rights of the property owner.
This particular phase of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline stretches 1,180 miles and is anticipated to cost $5.4 billion. In recent years, TransCanada has been lobbying landowners to sign easements giving the oil common carrier the right to lay pipeline across their land. However, if the project gets presidential approval, TransCanada will no longer need landowners to sign easements.
Presidential approval has been delayed because of the conflict in Nebraska, and Keystone XL needs the green light from the White House to proceed because the project crosses an international border.
But what makes the pipeline such a threat to landowners?
- The pipeline will transport tar sand oil – an extremely dangerous substance.
- The pipeline would transport the oil by heavily pressurizing it and heating it up to 400 degrees.
- The proposed pipeline route intersects the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to 82% of residents in the surrounding eight states.
- The aquifer also supplies irrigation water to 27% of the nation's crops.
As you can see, a rupture, leak, or any type of accident with the pipeline could prove catastrophic to not only Nebraska landowners – it could have health and economic impact on the entire United States.
"The pipeline is a tremendous environmental risk on two different levels," said Domina. A majority of people vying for the pipeline's approval believe the oil it will produce and transport will boost the economy and grow jobs. However, Domina says that not only is there no evidence of this, there is actually evidence to substantiate claims that the pipeline's oil will go to overseas markets, not our own.
To read the article in full, visit Ranchers say Keystone route unconstitutionalin the Western Livestock Journal.