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LB 1161 Applies to Common Carriers, Says Domina

Fox News recently covered the Nebraska Supreme Court battle over TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, and the controversial bill that gave the governor authority to approve its route.

On Friday, Nebraska's high court heard arguments for and against the constitutionality of LB 1161, a bill that gave Governor Dave Heineman the authority to approve the route of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, bypassing the Public Service Commission.

David Domina, the attorney representing the three landowners in the suit against the state, says that LB 1161 does apply to common carriers. The bulk of the arguments hinge on the classification of TransCanada. If an oil company, the state may find LB 1161 constitutional. If a common carrier, then the state may rule that LB 1161 was unconstitutional and the Public Service Commission alone has the authority to approve the route.

Other factors in this case include:

  • Eminent domain
  • Whether the landowners have the legal right to challenge LB 1161
  • The constitutionality of a $2 million appropriation

If the Nebraska Supreme Court rules that LB 1161 is salient, the onus will be on President Obama to approve or disprove of the international pipeline project.

Five justices were appointed to the case, but one stepped down to be replaced by a Heineman-appointed judge from a lower court. Various officials touted their trust that the decision would be a nonpartisan one.


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