Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Judge Sides With Landowners, Strikes Down Eminent Domain Law Allowing Keystone XL

Energy
Judge Sides With Landowners, Strikes Down Eminent Domain Law Allowing Keystone XL

Yesterday the Lancaster County District Court in Lincoln, NE found LB 1161—the law that amended Nebraska state pipeline laws to clear the way for the Keystone XL pipeline by granting the power of eminent domain to Gov. Heineman and in turn TransCananda—unconstitutional and void, according to Bold Nebraska.

"Citizens won today," said Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska. “We beat a corrupt bill that Gov. Heineman and the Nebraska Legislature passed in order to pave the way for a foreign corporation to run roughshod over American landowners."

“TransCanada learned a hard lesson today: never underestimate the power of family farmers and ranchers protecting their land and water."

Graphic courtesy of UC Berkeley

The law, signed by  Gov. Heineman (R-NE) in 2012, was challenged by three Nebraska landowners. Included in the ruling was a permanent injunction preventing Gov. Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality from taking any further action to authorize or advance the Keystone XL under the unconstitutional law. 

"Laws must be passed to protect the land, water and landowners rights regarding eminent domain and the right to due process," said plaintiff and Nebraska landowner Susan Dunavan.

"I commend Judge Stacy for her diligence in examining the serious issues of this case and applaud her for upholding citizens rights given by them by the Nebraska State Constitution."

"[TransCanada] came out here like a bunch of bullies and tried to force it down our throats," said plaintiff and Nebraska rancher and landowner Randy Thompson. "They told us there was nothing we could do to stop it." 

Yesterday's ruling could have significant implications on the final permit approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which now rests with President Obama, who will decide if it serves in the national interest. 

The President has faced intense pressure from the Canadian government to approve the controversial project that would carry 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. President Obama has said his approval will only come if it can be proven that the pipeline would “not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”  

Yesterday a meeting of the three North American leaders—President Obama, Prime Minister Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto—took place in Toluca, Mexico, where Harper again pushed the issue of Keystone XL, according to The Globe and Mail. During a press conference after the summit, President Obama seemed unswayed, reportedly saying, “Keystone will proceed along the path that’s already been set for it.” 

The President also said that all decisions—and not just Keystone XL—should take greenhouse gas emissions into account, again highlighting the importance of tackling climate change.

Watch the Ed Show from Feb. 19 where Ed Schultz and an environmental panel discusses the importance of this victory.

Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.

 

David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
Trending
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less
Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, holds up his lab's sample of the whitest paint on record. Purdue University / Jared Pike

Scientists at the University of Purdue have developed the whitest and coolest paint on record.

Read More Show Less

Less than three years after California governor Jerry Brown said the state would launch "our own damn satellite" to track pollution in the face of the Trump administration's climate denial, California, NASA, and a constellation of private companies, nonprofits, and foundations are teaming up to do just that.

Read More Show Less