Landowner: Pipeline ruling step in right direction - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Landowner: Pipeline ruling step in right direction

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Posted By: Camila Orti

Landowners opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline have something to smile about after a District Court decision Wednesday.

The law that fast–tracked TransCanada's pipeline route through Nebraska and gave the company eminent domain was ruled unconstitutional.

It's a small victory for Martell cattle buyer Randy Thompson, who has been fighting the pipeline for the past six years.

"We were quite excited about it, it's a huge step for our case," Thompson said.

"I'm tired of it, I think a lot of people are but we're determined to see it out to the bitter end because we just think it's that critically important," Thompson said.

He and two other landowners brought a lawsuit challenging a law that gave the Governor authority to approve TransCanada's route through the state. That law, passed in 2011, was ruled unconstitutional by a Lancaster County District Court Judge. This means TransCanada has no approved route in Nebraska and can't force landowners to give up their property for the pipeline.

Thompson has a box full of letters and clippings chronicling his battle with the multi-billion dollar corporation.

"They were so arrogant and so confident that they had the political power behind them that they weren't going to have to move it," Thompson said.

The company offered him nearly $18,000 to bury pipe under his family's farmland in Merrick County, threatening to seize the land with eminent domain if he refused.

"That's totally wrong and you know I've committed myself to fighting this thing as hard as I could and that's what I've done," Thompson said.

The judge's decision puts the power of approving a route back to the Neb. Public Service Commission. NPSC representatives say TransCanada would have to submit an application for the pipeline route, which they would then have to review and okay, a process that could take up to a year.

Supporters say the Keystone XL Pipeline would lower gas prices in the United States, opposition disagrees. What's for certain- TransCanada won't be breaking ground in Nebraska anytime soon.

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