Officials with TransCanada say they have gotten easements now from about 73% of the Nebraska landowners who are in the path of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline project. BOLD Nebraska spokesman Ben Gotschall is questioning that 73% figure.
“We’re not sure if that number is accurate,” Gotschall says. “By our count, it’s high. We are thinking it’s more somewhere in the 60s percentile.”
Gottschall says he has doubts because not all of the easements that have been signed have been formally filed. He says landowners need to realize, when they sign an easement with TransCanada, it’s a perpetual easement that does not ever go away.
“The main issue for a lot of folks that are not signing easements is that easement itself,” Gotschall says. “The terms of the easement are the most important thing. When people are looking at the money they’re going to get, oftentimes they can be distracted from some of the important issues that will effect their land for a long time.”
Gotschall advises landowners in the path of the pipeline project to check with their attorney or the Nebraska Easement Action team before signing anything. He also says TransCanada has been offering higher payments to landowners, with some payoffs reportedly reaching into six figures.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton