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Nebraska Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Keystone XL Pipeline Case

Nebraska Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Keystone XL Pipeline Case

The Nebraska Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether or not TransCanada should be permitted to build its pipeline across the state on Thursday, November 1.

A key portion of the arguments focused on whether the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) was authorized to grant the multi-billion dollar corporation approval to use its alternate route rather than the preferred route. A key issue brought up by attorney David Domina is that TransCanada only sought approval for its preferred route, and that it would need to reapply to pursue the alternate route.

"TransCanada came in riding one horse ... and it got no votes for that horse," Domina told the judges. "It lost."

The seven Supreme Court members listened to arguments from the lawyers and responded with questions of their own for the 50-minute session. They are not expected to return with a ruling for several weeks.

Domina argued, in addition to his questions about whether or not the alternative pipeline could be approved, that TransCanada erred by seeking approval from the PSC without first seeking approval from the governor. According to the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act, which was adopted by the state in 2011, states that the PSC can only act after the governor rejects a route.

"Without a denial (by the governor), the PSC can't act," Domina said.

While TransCanada argued against this, fellow Domina Law Group attorney Brian Jorde pointed out that the company attempted to amend its application with more information about the alternative route after the PSC voted last year. This action, he argued, raised questions about why that was necessary if it had in fact sought approval of an additional route.

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