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Pipeline Lawsuit: Press and Public Resources

On Friday, Sept. 27, three brave landowners–Randy, Susan, Suz–have their day in court against the unconstitutional pipeline routing law. If the landowners win, TransCanada will have to submit their route to the Nebraska PSC for a full review. While we do not expect Judge Stacy to make a decision on Friday, we hope to see a final ruling by the end of the year. The Domina Law Group is representing the landowners. The lawsuit is funded by Bold Nebraska, Nebraska Sierra Club and small donors from across the country who support property rights and the constitution.

Sept. 27th Events (*please do not wear any pipeline/randy t-shirts, armbands or buttons)
2:30pm– rally on courthouse steps (Lancaster County Courthouse, 575 S 10th St in Lincoln)
3pm– take our seats in courtroom
3:30pm– hearing starts
5pm (estimated time)– press conf on courthouse steps

Background including court documents and timeline: http://boldnebraska.org/lawsuit

Watch the hearing live: http://netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/news/keystone-xl-pipeline-trial

Donate to the lawsuit: https://rally.org/citizensvpipeline

Lawsuit graphics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/sets/72157629862142612/

Randy Thompson pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/sets/72157629017622635/

Susan Dunavan pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/sets/72157629837125708/

Suz Luebbe pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/sets/72157629744741362/

Background: The lawsuit (Thompson v. Heineman) filed by Nebraska landowners Susan Dunavan, Susan Luebbe and Randy Thompson claims the law passed by the Nebraska legislature and Gov. Dave Heineman that fast-tracked approval of the proposed pipeline route in Nebraska — LB 1161 (written By Sen. Smith who is also the ALEC Chair)– is unconstitutional. Further, the bill undoes all the work of the Pipeline Special Session and Sen. Dubas bill on pipeline routing.

The case 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 this court reaches its decision. Should the court side with landowners, the entire pipeline routing process in Nebraska goes back to square one. From there, the proper agency as outlined in Nebraska’s state Constitution — the Public Service Commission — would commence the extensive routing process laid out for pipelines.

Brian Jorde, Domina Law Firm quote: “Completing an environmental review of a tarsands pipeline requires Nebraska have a final route that was lawfully determined. 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.”

Randy Thompson quote: “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.”

Susan Dunavan quote: “This lawsuit has given hope to scores of landowners who have refused to negotiate easements with TransCanada. Landowners’ rights have been taken from us by delegating eminent domain authority to the Governor. 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.”

Suz Luebbe quote: “I believe very strongly in our rights as Nebraska citizens. All of us take it extremely personally when we are threatened with eminent domain. The elected officials of Nebraska should remember that their loyalties should be with Nebraskans first, U.S citizens second, and foreigners last. I owe it to the past, present, and future generations to pursue this action upon our Governor and State Senators to enact common sense laws that are also constitutional.”

Ken Winston, Nebraska Sierra Club, quote: “The Nebraska Sierra Club is proud to continue to stand with Randy Thompson, Suz Luebbe and Susan Dunavan as they stand up for fundamental American rights to protect our land and water from being taken by foreign pipeline companies without due process. However, if TransCanada had respected their agreement with the Legislature to use the Public Service Commission process after their original application was denied in January 2012, we wouldn’t need to be here challenging LB 1161. Similarly, if the Legislature had listened to the voices of Nebraskans who unanimously opposed LB 1161, it wouldn’t have been necessary to challenge this misbegotten piece of legislation in court.”

Press contact: Mark Hefflinger, mark@boldnebraska.org or Jane Kleeb 402-705-3622

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