TransCanada takes steps to acquire Keystone pipeline land

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Keystone builder files for eminent domain for pipeline route.

LINCOLN, Neb. TransCanada, the company that wants to build the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, filed court documents Tuesday in nine Nebraska counties starting eminent domain proceedings to get the 12 percent of easements it still needs here.Nebraska landowners have launched two separate lawsuits that, if successful, could serve to delay or even stop the construction of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

— The developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline has taken its first steps in Nebraska since the state’s high court cleared the way for the planned route. Officials with TransCanada said Tuesday they’ve filed paperwork in nine counties to acquire access to land that’s needed for the construction and operation of the pipeline. Last week, landowners filed lawsuits seeking to stop eminent domain and invalidate the 2012 law that gave the governor power to approve the pipeline route. The landowners say it is unconstitutional because it allows pipeline companies, like TransCanada, to bypass the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) when seeking approval of their route through the state and go directly to the Governor.

Dunbar, who also is president of the Montana Oil, Gas and Coal Counties, has been on the Phillips County Commission for nearly 20 years, notes that his county’s No. 1 taxpayer now is the Northern Border natural gas pipeline that cuts through the northeast corner. An earlier lawsuit that brought up similar arguments was thrown out by the Nebraska Supreme Court on a technicality, letting the law stand by default.

The proposed 1,179-mile, 36-inch underground pipeline would carry mainly heavy crude from western Canada’s oil sands region across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska to a pumping station near Steele City along the Nebraska-Kansas border. Some of those landowners said last week that they would file individual challenges to their eminent domain filings in another attempt to stop the pipeline.

Domina says standing isn’t an issue in this case because the action is directed against Trans Canada which has already given notice it’s condemning the landowner’s property. In that decision, four out of the court’s seven judges agreed with a district court’s February 2014 decision that LB1161 law was unconstitutional. Most of the rest would go to schools and county governments in the other five counties along the pipeline route: Valley, McCone, Prairie, Dawson and Fallon.

In Fallon County, the plan includes — as a requirement for Montana’s approval — an on ramp to ship up to 100,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude. Even if oil prices stay around $50 a barrel, the completed Keystone XL would pay more in taxes than any other entity in this county of 4,200 residents. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here. Improved vehicle fuel efficiency and cleaner-running engines, as well as careful investment in mass transit would do much more to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.

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