Victory Scored in Nebraska Landowners' Fight Against Keystone XL

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Victory Scored in Nebraska Landowners' Fight Against Keystone XL

Judge's injunction halts TransCanada from invoking eminent domain claims

Holt County District Judge Mark Kozisek sided with landowners in putting a pause on TransCanada's eminent domain claims.  (Photo: Rainforest Action Network/flickr/cc)

Foes of the Keystone XL claimed a temporary victory on Thursday when a Nebraska judge put a hold on TransCanada's use of eminent domain to seize land for its pipeline.

The temporary injunction issued by Holt County District Judge Mark Kozisek halts the energy company's eminent domain claims until the legal challenge is heard by the state supreme court.

Nebraska landowner Jim Tarnick previously called TransCanada's use of eminent domain "just another bullying move by the foreign corporation that swears they are going to be a good neighbor. From the Kalamazoo to the Yellowstone rivers and all across the United States, tar sands are a horrible danger and threat that the President must reject," he said.

The landowners were dealt a blow last month by the state supreme court in their challenge to the constitutionality of state law LB 1161, which allowed Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the pipeline route.

They did have the support of four of the justices—one shy of what the landowners needed. Advocacy group Bold Nebraska states that because TransCanada has now invoked eminent domain claims for land along the pipeline route, it is now clear that their case has standing, giving the group confidence they'll be victorious in their next round at the state's high court.

Meanwhile, Congress this week passed a bill to force construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which the EPA recently said would "significantly increase" greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands.

President Obama has vowed to veto the legislation, but has not yet said he would kill the project completely.

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