September 22, 2014

Attorney General Bruning confident appeal of pipeline ruling will be successful

Attorney General Jon Bruning expects to win his appeal of a lower court ruling that the legislature violated the state constitution when it passed the law leading to the re-route of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Three landowners successfully sued the state over the pipeline siting law.

Bruning has appealed Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy’s ruling.

“My expectation is we’re going to win that case, that the law was drafted constitutionally. The legislature did what it needed to do as far as process. I think we’ll win that case,” Bruning told reporters during a news conference at the Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney. “It just delays it another six, seven months is all it does. I think the judge was well-meaning I just think she was wrong in this case.”

The ruling throws into question TransCanada’s proposed route through Nebraska to hook up with the southern leg of Keystone XL.

Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy ruled LB 1161 unconstitutional, stating the Nebraska Constitution gives exclusive regulatory control over pipeline companies, such as TransCanada, to the Nebraska Public Service Commission and that the Unicameral could not transfer that power to the governor.

Bruning immediately filed an appeal of the ruling on behalf of the state.

Landowners Randy Thompson, Susan Dunavan, and Susan Luebbe filed the lawsuit after LB 1161 became law.

Bruning told reporters he supports Keystone XL.

“For me, energy independence. Why do we send a nickel to Arab countries for oil? They’re using the money to shoot at our kids in war. I just can’t believe we don’t want to work harder in this country to be energy independent,” Bruning stated.

Bruning said the lawsuit merely delays the process of approving a pipeline route for six to seven months.

The president has said he will make a decision on Keystone XL in a couple of months.

The northern portion of Keystone XL is estimated to cost $5.4 billion. It would carry 830,000 barrels of oil sands crude from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.