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David Domina Exposes TransCanada's Failure in His Closing Arguments

David Domina

The lengthy legal battle against the Keystone XL Pipeline reached the end of its latest chapter with the submission of closing arguments to the Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) on Friday, September 15.

In those arguments, attorney David Domina focused on TransCanada’s failure to provide sufficient evidence in carrying the burden of proof during its attempts to secure a route for their planned project. In the submitted argument, he said that,

“The KXL will not generate more tax revenue in Nebraska; it will reduce them… KXL will not create thousands of permanent jobs, or even hundreds in Nebraska. It will create eight or nine, but diminish farm income.”

Domina went on to describe the “collapse on the witness stand” of TransCanada’s attorney Ernie Goss, whose claims that 40,000 temporary jobs would be created were later debunked by University of Nebraska Omaha economist Michael O’Hara. Even Goss’ claims about the number of permanent jobs that would be created were contradicted, this time by TransCanada employee Mr. Fuher.

At one point in the trial, Goss failed to explain his figures or even identify his sources.

“Goss put income from operations in Keya Paha County at $217,000 per year for only two-tenths of one person,” said Domina. “This folly was apparent to all in the hearing venue.”

Domina and O’Hara mapped out the property tax obligations that every county would be owed for the next 50 years, and between 2035 and 2069 the Keystone XL Pipeline wouldn’t owe a single county one cent in taxes. O’Hara’s estimate for the total loss in tax revenue for Nebraska would be $4.8 million for the first 20 years of the pipeline’s existence and $14.3 million over its 50-year lifetime.

“The pipeline will neither load nor unload products for Nebraskans,” said Domina. “Its expected utility is 20 years, and with adaptations it may last 50. If TransCanada has its way, the pipeline with its sludge inside, will then waste in Nebraska’s soil until landowners left with the mess are required to remove it.”

In an opinion piece on Domina’s closing arguments, Nebraska Star-Herald publisher Greg Awtry wrote that,

“TransCanada ran headfirst into the force of “people of the prairie,” Native Americans, farmers and ranchers and citizens who have carved out an existence in a place once referred to as The Great American Desert, who are hell-bent on preserving our natural resources, protecting our landowner rights and reminding all that this is our land, our water and our responsibility to steward it to the best of our abilities and to pass it down to generations we expect to do the same.”

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