TransCanada takes steps to acquire Keystone Pipeline land

Posted By: Lauren Fabrizi
lfabrizi@klkntv.com

Officials with TransCanada said Tuesday they’ve filed paperwork in nine counties to acquire eminent domain over Nebraska land needed for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

These are the first steps TransCanada is taking since the Nebraska Supreme Court recently validated the route through the state. The company is  trying to get the remaining 12 percent of easements from landowners who have not yet reached a deal.

That means nearly 90 letters are being sent out to landowners, stating TransCanada’s desire to condemn their land. Landowners can either sign off, challenge their compensation or challenge the issue of eminent domain in court.

This all comes after then–Gov. Dave Heineman approved the route through Nebraska in 2013. TransCanada’s two–year window to acquire eminent domain expires Thursday.

“We view that the use of eminent domain is a last resort,” TransCanada property manager Andrew Craig said. “The goal is to always reach a voluntary agreement with our landowners, so we’re kind of at that point where we had to commence the actions today.”

The Nebraska Supreme court recently overturned the lower court‘s ruling that the law used to approve the route through the state was unconstitutional, essentially validating that route. 

But a number of landowners aren’t giving up.

Channel 8 Eyewitness News spoke with one landowner near Benedict, Neb., who’s continuing to fight. Jenni Harrington and her sisters have filed a lawsuit in York County District Court, challenging the constitutionality of TransCanada’s eminent domain powers.

“It’s very important to our family that our land stays in our family and isn’t with a foreign corporation, for-profit corporation,” Harrington said. “So we’ll do everything we can to keep the land still in our name.”

A spokeswoman for Bold Nebraska, a group against the pipeline, said other landowners have also filed lawsuits. She said more will continue to do the same.

TransCanada officials said they will continue to work to acquire easements voluntarily.

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Posted By: KLKN Newsroom
8@klkntv.com

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ The developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline has taken its first steps in Nebraska since the state’s high court cleared the way for the planned route.

Officials with TransCanada said Tuesday they’ve filed paperwork in nine counties to acquire access to land that’s needed for the construction and operation of the pipeline. The two-year window for TransCanada to invoke eminent domain closes Thursday.

The route still faces challenges as opponents have filed lawsuits to try to prevent the Calgary, Alberta-based company from using eminent domain and to overturn the state law that allowed ex-Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the route.

The pipeline will carry an estimated 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Canada to Nebraska.

TransCanada spokesman Andrew Craig says it will work to acquire easements voluntarily.