At a hearing on Friday, July 19 at the Lancaster County Courthouse, the judge overseeing the landowners’ lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law that fast-tracked approval of Keystone XL in Nebraska set a date for the claims to come to trial. The first day in court for the three landowners — Randy Thompson, Susan Luebbe and Susan Dunavan — is now scheduled for Sept. 27.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2013
No Final State Dept. Report Until Nebraska Route Final and Landowners Have Day in Court
Lincoln, NE — Three Nebraska landowners will finally see their day in court as the lawsuit they filed against the state is finally moving forward. The suit challenges the constitutionality of the LB 1161 the law used by the state legislature and Governor Dave Heineman for approving eminent domain and the Keystone XL pipeline route in Nebraska. The State Department must put on hold any review of the pipeline.After multiple attempts at delay by state officials, Nebraska Judge Stacy announced today that the lawsuit will be heard on Sept. 27, 2013. This news has significant implications on the broader national debate on the permit process for TransCanada’s Keystone XL tarsands pipeline. With the entire Nebraska route in question, the State Department should not finalize the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) until the court decision and the proper agency in Nebraska, the Public Service Commission, goes thru the extensive routing process laid out for pipelines.

Randy Thompson, one of the plaintiff landowners, said “If we are successful in our lawsuit TransCanada will have to start the Keystone XL siting process over again through the Nebraska Public Service Commission, so it would be premature for the State Department to issue a final EIS when the route across Nebraska remains very much in question. As citizens, we are asking the State Department to respect the legal process and our state’s constitution.”

“Completing an environmental review of a tarsands pipeline requires Nebraska have a final route that was lawfully determined,” stated Brian Jorde, lawyer with Domina Law Group. “With the Nebraska route in doubt, pending resolution of the constitutional challenges to the law that led to its approval, it would be irresponsible to approve a national route when nearly 200 miles are still in question. We encourage our government to honor our legal process and give Nebraska its day in court.”

“This lawsuit has given hope to scores of landowners who have refused to negotiate easements with TransCanada.  Landowner’s rights have been taken from us by delegating eminent domain authority to the Governor,” said Susan Dunavan, another landowner plaintiff. “No one in the State of Nebraska should be threatened by a corporation, foreign or domestic. This lawsuit will ensure that our landowner’s rights are upheld and our state constitution followed.  Eminent domain must not be used for private gain. This pipeline is not for Nebraska.  It is not for the United States.  It is solely for the benefit of Canada and the oil industry.”

Thompson and his co-plaintiffs Susan Luebbe and Susan Dunavan are standing up for citizens across the state, and call into question the environmental impacts the Keystone XL pipeline would have on Nebraska. Landowners are not accepting a threat to their land, water, and livelihood without a fight. And their next battle will be in the courtroom on Sept. 27.

Background on lawsuit, pics of landowners: http://boldnebraska.org/lawsuit
Background on process surrounding passage of LB 1161:
http://www.prairiefirenewspaper.com/2013/06/lb1161-a-bad-idea-poorly-executed
Contact for legal questions: Brian Jorde, Domina Law Firm, 402-493-4100
Contact to speak to landowners: Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska, 402-705-3622