Holt County District Judge Mark Kozisek issued a temporary injunction, putting a stop to eminent domain proceedings against the landowners who brought the lawsuit. TransCanada has agreed to cease all eminent domain proceedings until the latest legal challenge to Keystone XL is resolved.
Earlier, the Nebraska Supreme Court threw out a similar lawsuit, ruling the landowners who brought it lacked standing, because they didn’t own land along the Keystone XL route.
This lawsuit seeks to overcome that technical ruling and get at the heart of the matter: whether the legislature violated the state constitution by taking authority to establish a route from the Public Service Commission and giving it to the governor who would receive input from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
BOLD Nebraska’s Ben Gotschall says other landowners can still join the lawsuit.
“There is an option if landowners were not part of the injunction this time around, there is an option to amend and add other landowners to that injunction so that they would be included,” Gotschall tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX.
TransCanada reports it has reached easement agreements with 90% of the more than 500 landowners along the route. A spokesman says the company believes the state law is valid, but will wait until the latest litigation is resolved.
The company proposes building an oil pipeline from western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska where the pipeline could connect with the southern portion to deliver crude oil to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this report.