The Nebraska Supreme Court has announced it will hear TransCanada’s appeal of the State Public Service Commission’s decision that granted the company an alternate route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Attorney Dave Domina, who represents landowners who oppose the project, says he’s not surprised by the decision.
“Technically, all appeals are docketed with the Nebraska Court of Appeals and they are either held at the Court of Appeals or moved to the Supreme Court after they’re filed,” Domina says. “This case just moved to the Supreme Court docket which is what everyone expected would happen.”
Domina says he has a solid case challenging TransCanada’s $8-billion project.
“We think the Public Service Commission approved a route on a 2-to-2-to-1 vote that was never applied for,” he says, “so the action of the commission’s plurality is invalid.”
Domina expects the state Supreme Court to hear oral arguments sometime this fall.
“The briefing schedule and progression schedule did not change,” Domina says. “The opening brief for the appealing party is due April 16, the responsive brief is due May 16, which probably means an oral argument the first week in September.”
Domina says he’s pleased the high court is moving fairly quickly on the case as landowners who may be impacted by the pipeline — if it’s approved — are facing a lot of uncertainty and would like resolution to the issue.
The PSC in November rejected the route preferred by TransCanada and, instead, approved an alternative route through Nebraska.
President Trump gave a presidential permit for TransCanada to complete Keystone XL after President Obama denied it a permit.
The southern portion of Keystone XL is in operation from Oklahoma City to oil refineries along the Gulf Coast in Texas.
TransCanada proposes building a 36-inch pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. It would carry crude oil made from the oil sands in western Canada.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton