On Wednesday, February 19, 2014, Nebraska’s recently passed law allowing TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Co. to proceed with construction across Nebraska was declared unconstitutional and void.
The ruling came from Lancaster County District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy. The Court ruled for three Nebraska landowners who challenged the law. The ruling includes a permanent injunction preventing Gov. Dave Heineman, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality from taking any further action to authorize or advance the pipeline under the unconstitutional law.
Judge Stacy concluded the law unconstitutionally conferred upon the Governor of Nebraska the authority to approve a crude oil pipeline route, and to authorize the crude oil pipeline company to exercise the power of eminent domain against Nebraska landowners.
Siding with three landowner plaintiffs, the District Court concluded that under Nebraska’s State Constitution, exclusive regulatory control over pipeline companies like TransCanada Keystone XL must be exercised by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, and cannot be given to the Governor.
Judge Stacy also concluded that TransCanada was not empowered to take land from Nebraska property owners.
The court’s action effectively rescinds Gov. Heineman’s notification to Pres. Barack Obama that Nebraska legal procedures had been satisfied.
Dave Domina, the lawyer who handled the case for the landowners summarized the Ruling: “Under the Court’s ruling, TransCanada has no approved route in Nebraska. TransCanada is not authorized to condemn the property against Nebraska landowners. The pipeline project is at standstill in this State.”
A copy of the Court’s Opinion is found HERE: http://www.dominalaw.com/documents/LB-1161-Court-Order-Feb-19-2014.pdf