A ruling by the state Supreme Court on the law that authorized the Keystone XL route through Nebraska could have ramifications well beyond this state.
Attorney General Jon Bruning is confident the Supreme Court will uphold the law that set the route.
“I think the legislature clearly acted within the bounds of our constitution,” Bruning says.
The Attorney General’s office defended the Unicameral in the lawsuit Thompson v. Heineman. The state lost at the lower court level, when a Lancaster County District Judge ruled the legislature violated the constitution in shifting regulatory power over pipeline routes from the Public Service Commission to the governor.
The state appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the lawsuit Friday morning.
Bruning says it is time for the Keystone XL oil pipeline to be approved.
“But, the reality is we have pipelines in Nebraska,” Bruning states. “We will continue to have pipelines in Nebraska. It’s a very efficient way to transport oil.”
Attorney Dave Domina, who argued on behalf of the four landowners who brought suit, says the court case gives President Obama more insight about the character of TransCanada.
“Is TransCanada itself as an entity a worthy applicant?” Domina asks. “It’s misbehaved in Nebraska and I think that word will reach the president as a result of this and that will give him additional pause.”
TransCanada has applied for a presidential permit to cross the Canadian/United States border to build the northern portion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The southern route, between Cushing, OK and the Gulf Coast in Texas, has been built.
President Obama has stated he will not act on the request until the legal issues in Nebraska have been resolved.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]