In an announcement last week, TransCanada is attempting to dismiss around
100 cases planning to force easements using eminent domain proceedings.
The company made it known that they plan on looking for a quicker way
to lay the Keystone XL pipeline by seeking re-approval from the Nebraska
Public Service Commission regarding its original route. This a surprising
twist in the case filed by about 60 property owners who want to put a
stop to the use of eminent domain.
TransCanada’s preferred route planned to go 275 miles and the Public
Service Commission is determining whether or not the board can approve
a project that was already given approval by the governor. Now, the company
has submitted an application proposing two new, alternative paths. The
first would be the original route that caused public disapproval because
it would go through some of the Nebraska Sandhills’ most sensitive
areas. The second route — a 280-mile path — closely follows
the existing Keystone Pipeline.
While the plan of TransCanada is to seek a way to progress the pipeline
faster, Nebraskans are still planning on taking their case to court and
the Public Service Commission in an attempt to stop the project.
Attorney Brian Jorde of Domina Law Group is representing the property owners
with the goal of convincing the Nebraska Supreme Court to strike down
a law from 2012 that is believed to show unconstitutional favoritism to
oil pipeline companies. The law allows these companies to gain project
approval from the governor while being able to bypass the Public Service
Attorney Jorde stated that, “the law is there for any oil pipeline
company to take advantage of, it’s not TransCanada specific.”
He continued, “TransCanada could come back and use this same law
again. As long as it’s still there, it remains an unconstitutional
option for them. We have to get that straightened out once and for all.”
Domina Law Group intends to continue the lawsuit with approval from the
judge despite the announcement from TransCanada.