Published on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 by Common Dreams
Governor's approval of pipeline was "predicated on an unconstitutional statute," judge rules
In a victory for opponents of the Keystone XL, a local judge on Wednesday struck down a law that would allow the tar sands pipeline to pass through Nebraska, the Associated Press is reporting.
Republican Gov. Dave Heineman approved TransCanada's pipeline over a year ago, but in a ruling today Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy states that Nebraska's Legislative Bill 1161, which allowed for pipeline companies to go around the state's Public Service Commission to get approval, is unconstitutional, and therefore the governor's action was "predicated on an unconstitutional statute" and as such is null and void.
The ruling siding with the three landowner plaintiffs means that "TransCanada has no approved route in Nebraska. TransCanada is not authorized to condemn the property against Nebraska landowners," stated Dave Domina, an attorney who represented plaintiffs in the case, in a media release.
"Citizens won today," stated Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, cheering the ruling.
"We beat a corrupt bill that Gov. Heineman and the Nebraska Legislature passed in order to pave the way for a foreign corporation to run roughshod over American landowners. We look forward to the Public Service Commission giving due process to a route that TransCanada will have to now submit to this proper regulatory body in Nebraska. TransCanada learned a hard lesson today: never underestimate the power of family farmers and ranchers protecting their land and water," Kleeb stated.