TransCanada Uses Eminent Domain for Private Gain for Keystone XL

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TransCanada Uses Eminent Domain for Private Gain for Keystone XL

Nebraska Landowners Vow to Fight Back in Court and Make Case to President Obama

Lincoln, NE - On the same day a Montana community is trucking in clean drinking water after a pipeline leak spilled tens of thousands of gallons of oil into their water supply, Canadian oil company TransCanada has served Nebraska families with eminent domain papers to take their land and put Nebraska’s water supply at risk of even worse tar sands spills with the construction of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Eminent domain was never intended to be used for private gain, yet that is what Nebraska lawmakers are letting TransCanada do to landowners today. Nebraska’s eminent domain law sides with oil companies over the farmers and ranchers who are the backbone of our state’s economy.

Landowners will bring a county-level challenge to TransCanada’s claim to eminent domain, which will pave the way for another Supreme Court challenge, since the issue of “standing” was not met in the last case, though the majority of judges sided with landowners and agreed that LB 1161 is unconstitutional. The filing of eminent domain on landowners gives them the legal standing and the moral authority to battle TransCanada to our highest court.

It is critical to note that when TransCanada brags about having 100% of the necessary easements in Montana and South Dakota to build its pipeline, what they fail to mention is that many landowners did not sign willingly. They were forced through eminent domain and were bullied very early on in the process and told that they had no other option but to sign. Landowners in all three states oppose this project and know the risks a tar sands pipeline brings to their land and water.

With the backdrop of the Senate debating Keystone XL today, the State of the Union address, and a new NBC poll finding only 41% of Americans approve of the project, we stand with landowners in their call to President Obama to reject the risky pipeline once and for all.

Jim Tarnick, a landowner whose property has sandy soil and water table at surface, commented on TransCanada serving landowners with eminent domain papers:

“This is 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.”

*picture of Jim: https://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/8472464146/in/photolist-npzxw7-dyQfn4-dUFAq3-eesK2t-dVSky5-eeypWu-ecjTbA-eceeEM-ecjTe3-ecG5ue-eesGiD-eceeua

Meghan Hammond, a landowner whose family owns the Build Our Energy Barn, a clean energy project built directly in the path of Keystone XL that would have to be torn down for the risky pipeline:

“My family farms and ranches every day in order to put food on Americans’ tables. We can not survive as a family business without clean water. Our government has no solution to clean up tarsands and benzene from our water. Our land is not for sale and we will keep fighting TransCanada until we see their tail lights go back across our border.”

*picture of Meghan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/boldnebraska/9551796490/in/set-72157635150235102

Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska Director: “Today, Nebraska families are facing an inconceivable moment when land that has been in their hands for generations is being taken away from them by a foreign oil company. Landowners are prepared to battle TransCanada in court to stop them from using eminent domain for private gain. Farmers and ranchers have the grit and stomach to prevent TransCanada from polluting our water. Landowners will match TransCanada’s lawsuits in local courts and continue to take our fight to the one person who can put an end to all of this: President Obama.”

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We don’t want the status quo. We want bold leaders. We want all of our voices represented in Congress, in state elected officials and in our local politics. We want political balance. We want a Bold Nebraska.

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