Nebraskan landowners display pipeline protest signs

After a nine-month wait, the Nebraska Supreme Court gave the green light for an alternative route for the Keystone XL pipeline across Nebraska on Friday.

The unanimous decision by the Supreme Court upheld the proposed route chosen by the Nebraska Public Service Commission on Nov. 20, 2017. The decision followed oral arguments in November 2018 and a four-day Nebraska PSC hearing in 2017 where Nebraska landowners were represented by Dave Domina and Brian Jorde of the Domina Law Group.

According to Jorde, the attorneys presented “direct testimony from over 90 witnesses and tens of thousands of pages of evidence supporting landowners whose property and livelihoods would be directly negatively impacted by the proposed Keystone XL export tar sands pipeline route.”

Attorneys with Domina Law further argued that TransCanada had not applied for, nor requested approval, of the so-called “Mainline Alternative Route” that the PSC came up with. 

On Friday, the Supreme Court released a 59-page opinion, ruling that the alternative route was in the public interest and that the PSC had the authority to select an alternate route. 

“At this time, our involvement in the process has reached its conclusion. We respect the Supreme Court’s decision,” PSC Executive Director Mike Hybl said.

Dave Domina Law disagrees with the decision, saying he feels TransCanada failed to meet its burden of proof and the laws used to evaluate the route were unconstitutional. 

“Our evidence proved the preferred route would be detrimental to the lands of Nebraska, that there are no on or off ramps for Nebraskans to actually use the pipeline, that there is no fixed entry point into Nebraska, and that the claims of increased tax revenues and jobs simply were not true, however, we will respect the Court’s decision and prepare for the next steps,” Domina said.

In addition, Domina Law disputes claims made by TransCanada, promising more jobs and tax revenues.

“At the PSC trial, TransCanada’s witnesses admitted only 6-10 permanent jobs would be created in Nebraska and they failed to rebut landowner evidence that state tax revenues would actual fall if the pipeline was to be constructed,” Jorde said. “Further, Nebraska’s public interests are not served by a 36-inch tar sands pipeline crisscrossing through and under the most fragile, highly erodible soils of our state, the Ogallala Aquifer, and cutting across five major rivers.”

 

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