As the pipeline controversy gains national attention, so too does the legal battle in Nebraska spearheaded by Domina Law Group and KXL holdouts.
The eyes of the nation are on the Keystone XL pipeline project, and consequently, the litigation tying it up in Nebraska. On Thursday, the controversy was featured on the front page of The New York Times.
The pipeline has been approved by the House and is being debated by the Senate, but President Obama has already said he would not approve the project, citing environmental impact studies. The holdup in Nebraska is a lawsuit (dual lawsuits to be exact) filed by Domina Law Group on behalf of landowners who would be directly impacted by the pipeline. The previous lawsuit involving the pipeline, also filed by Domina Law Group, was unsuccessful getting the KXL route-approving law ruled unconstitutional because three judges refused to vote.
Many Nebraskans, like the Harrington sisters – also featured in the NYT piece, fear that construction of KXL could harm their livelihood. In the event of a pipeline leak, which many believe is a matter of "when" rather than "if," the crude could easily contaminate environmentally sensitive and farming lands at a cleanup cost far above most Nebraskans' means.
Last week, TransCanada filed the paperwork to begin eminent domain proceedings against the Nebraska holdouts – those who have refused to sign easement agreements. TransCanada claims that invoking eminent domain is a "last resort" to get the remaining landowners to give over their property rights.
Nebraskans have a laundry list of reasons why they are opposed to the pipeline. Some have environmental concerns, others are wary of a foreign company building on their land… at Domina Law Group, our primary concern has always been to secure a law that is constitutional. For more on this story, read Defenders of Tradition in Keystone Pipeline Fightas it appeared in The New York Times.