Nebraska Court Ruling Deals Serious Blow to Keystone XL Pipeline

The state cannot use eminent domain to seize land

Nebraska Judge Stephanie F. Stacy has struck down a law that allowed the state government to approve the route of the Keystone XL pipeline and seize property for it through eminent domain, because it violates the state’s constitution: Nebraska Judge Strikes Down Legislature’s Move Allowing Keystone XL Route.

Stacy concluded that the state legislature could not take the routing power away from its Public Service Commission and allow Heineman to make the decision. More than 200 miles of the proposed pipeline, which would carry as many as 830,000 barrels of heavy crude oil daily from Canada to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, would run through Nebraska.

The judge’s decision to overturn LB 1161, enacted in the final hours of the state’s 2012 session, means “there is no approved route across Nebraska now,” said David A. Domina, the lawyer who represented the three landowners who filed the lawsuit. “This statute is the only statute we have out here that creates a procedure for getting a permit” for a pipeline, said Domina, who is running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat this fall.

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