The lawyer for the landowners who successfully sued the state over the law that re-routed the Keystone XL oil pipeline says TransCanada has gotten the effect of the court ruling overturning the law wrong.
We asked Attorney David Domina what objections he had to TransCanada’s statement insisting the siting law is valid pending appeal.
“I don’t have any objections to what TransCanada said, it’s just not accurate,” Domina tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Domina says the effect of the ruling is quite the opposite; the state law is invalid unless the appeal proves successful.
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.
Attorney General Jon Bruning immediately filed an appeal of the ruling.
Domina, who is a Democratic candidate for United States Senate, represented Randy Thompson, Susan Dunavan, and Susan Luebbe in the lawsuit filed after LB 1161 became law.
Domina says, at present, there is no Keystone XL route through Nebraska, which could affect TransCanada’s application for a presidential permit.
“The president would have to act based on the assumption that this route would eventually somehow, through a legal process, be approved,” Domina says. “He seems, based on what’s happened in the past, he seems unlikely to do that.”
President Barack Obama met with Republican governors Monday, who report he told them a decision on TransCanada’s presidential permit application would come in a couple of months.
The southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, from Cushing, Oklahoma to refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas, is operating. TransCanada needs permission from President Barack Obama to cross the Canadian border and build the pipeline from western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska.
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 the refineries.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]