By ANDREW HARRIS
Nebraska landowners opposed to the proposed $5.4 billion
Keystone XL pipeline urged the states highest court to
uphold a judges ruling invalidating the route mapped by
Governor Dave Heineman and TransCanada.
The property owners urged the state Supreme Court to uphold a
February ruling effectively blocking the pipeline. Judge
Stephanie Stacy in Lincoln declared TransCanada a common
carrier like a railroad. As such, a 2012 law giving the
governor control over the path violated a part of the state
constitution vesting power in the Public Service Commission.
TransCanada offers pipeline structures for
transportation services, like taxis offer rides to passengers
for a fee, and truckers offer cartage for dollars per
mile, the landowners said in a June 20 legal brief.
The currently-proposed pipeline is a structure that
will transport crude oil for hire.
TransCanada, based in Calgary, seeks to build a 1,179-mile
(1,897-kilometer) conduit capable of carrying 830,000 bpd of
oil from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, where
it would connect to an existing network.
Supporters say Keystone will create jobs and promote energy
independence. Opponents say petroleum derived from
Albertas oil sands will contribute to global warming.
The decision on whether to approve Keystone will fall to
President Barack Obama, who may wait until the Nebraska court
rules. The judges have yet to schedule arguments, and a
decision may not come until after Congresss midterm
TransCanada has said it will seek Canadian government
permission to construct a different, longer, pipeline giving
it a conduit to the Atlantic Ocean. That proposed 2,700-mile
pipeline, called Energy East, would carry 1.1 million bpd of
oil across six provinces to a refinery
and export terminal at
Saint John, New Brunswick.
Heineman, a Republican whos leaving office on Dec. 31,
and state Attorney General Jon Bruning, who sought to succeed
him, argued in April that the three landowners who sued
havent shown theyve been injured by the plan and
lack standing to sue.
Bruning last month lost the Republican Partys
gubernatorial primary to former Ameritrade Holding Corp. Vice
Chairman Pete Ricketts.
David Domina, the landowners lawyer and a Democrat
seeking a US Senate seat, said his clients have been harmed.
There is no competitor, different regulator or
differently affected landowner to bring this suit, he
said in a phone interview. The state belongs to the
citizens, and they are its saving watchfulness.