Landowners and Bold Nebraska’s Jane Kleeb outside the Keystone XL intervenor hearings before the Nebraska Public Service Commission, Aug. 10, 2017. (Photo: Alex Matzke)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2017

Contact:
Ken Winston, Bold Alliance, 402-212-3737, kwinston@inebraska.com
Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska, 402-705-3622, jane@boldnebraska.org
Jonathon Berman, Sierra Club, 202-495-3033, jonathon.berman@sierraclub.org

Landowners, Bold Alliance and Sierra Club Argue Keystone XL Not in the Public Interest in Closing Briefs to Public Service Commission

TransCanada failed to meet its burden of proof; KXL proven to be not in the public interest

Lincoln, NE — Landowners along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route, along with fellow formal intervenors Bold Alliance and Sierra Club, and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and Yankton Sioux Tribe, today submitted closing briefs to the Nebraska Public Service Commission arguing that TransCanada’s risky tarsands export pipeline project is not in the public interest.

In the landowners’ closing brief, attorneys for Domina Law Group argue that TransCanada’s three justifications for Keystone XL were disproven — that the pipeline will not generate more tax revenues for Nebraska, but in fact reduce them; that the pipeline will not create thousands of permanent jobs, or even hundreds in Nebraska; and that the “preferred” KXL route is not necessary because of a claimed “fixed entry point” coming from South Dakota.

“TransCanada left parts of its Application unproven, failed to bring a single official of the Applicant to testify before you, and produced multiple witnesses who could not answer questions and deferred to others not designated to testimony on those subjects. It could not justify perpetual easements, or abandonment of its machine to waste away as a liability for future generations,” landowners attorneys write in their brief (full text available below).

Bold Alliance and Sierra Club argue in their closing brief to the PSC that TransCanada’s application for route approval for the Keystone XL pipeline across Nebraska should be denied because TransCanada has failed to meet its burden of proof that the pipeline is in the public interest. KXL is not in the public interest because “it would violate private property rights and irretrievably impact natural resources, including native grasses and the endangered whooping crane; and because the relevant pipeline siting statutes and PSC process violate the constitutional rights of intervenors and the public,” the brief states.

The Public Service Commissioners will now review the closing briefs submitted today, and reply briefs due on Sept. 25th — as well as the overwhelming public testimony against the pipeline recorded at four hearings, and in nearly half a million written public comments — and are then expected to make a final decision by Nov. 23rd on whether to deny or approve TransCanada’s permit, or mandate a re-route of the pipeline.

During the intervenor hearings in Lincoln Aug. 7-11, landowners testified that Keystone XL threatens their fragile, highly permeable sandy soils — whom many have spent decades restoring to pristine conditions — and the water wells they depend on for their families, cattle and irrigation. A UNO economist testified that rural land values along the KXL route would fall by 15 percent, because of the risks of spills, deterrence to development, and expensive monitoring for contamination.

Tribal attorneys and witnesses established that TransCanada failed to consult properly with Tribes or survey the historic Ponca Trail of Tears and other burial and sacred sites that KXL would cross, while attorneys and experts for Bold and Sierra Club established that TransCanada’s route threatens endangered whooping cranes — just 400 exist in the world — in addition to at least one known bald eagle’s nest.

Jane Kleeb, president of Bold Alliance:
“Issuing a foreign corporation the right to use eminent domain for their private gain is not only wrong, but opens the door for reckless abuse of property rights. We are confident the Public Service Commission will reject the proposed route in order to protect farmers, ranchers and Indigenous communities in our state.”

John Crabtree, Campaign Representative with the Sierra Club:
“It’s time for the PSC to recognize what Nebraskans have known for years: that the Keystone XL pipeline would threaten our natural resources and way of life, all for the profit of a foreign oil company. This pipeline would be all cost and no benefit for Nebraska, and we urge the PSC to reject it.”

Full text of PSC closing briefs from landowners, Bold & Sierra Club:
http://boldnebraska.org/psc-closing-briefs

Background on the KXL Intervenor Hearings at the PSC:
http://boldnebraska.org/recap-keystone-xl-intervenor-hearings-at-the-psc

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Landowners’ Closing Arguments (Summary)

Landowners’ Closing Arguments re: Keystone XL

Bold Alliance & Sierra Club Closing Arguments re: Keystone XL