Skip to comments.Judge strikes down Nebraska law that allowed Keystone pipeline to proceed through state
Posted on 02/19/2014 2:08:44 PM PST by Hojczyk
LINCOLN, Neb. A Nebraska judge on Wednesday struck down a law that allowed the Keystone XL oil pipeline to proceed through the state, a victory for opponents who have tried to block the project.
Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy issued a ruling that invalidated Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's approval of the route. Stacy agreed with opponents' arguments that law passed in 2011 improperly delegated the decision-making power to Heineman to give the company eminent domain powers within the state. Stacy said the decision should have been made by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities.
The lawsuit was filed by three Nebraska landowners who oppose the pipeline.
"Under the Court's ruling, TransCanada has no approved route in Nebraska," Dave Domina, the landowners' attorney, said in a statement. "TransCanada is not authorized to condemn the property against Nebraska landowners. The pipeline project is at standstill in this state."
Domina said the ruling means that the governor's office has no role to play in the pipeline, and decisions within the state must be made by the Public Service Commission. The decision on a federal permit still rests with President Barack Obama.
The ruling could cause more delays in finishing the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Watch Canada ship it all to China.
What a doucherocket!!!
Warren Buffett is overjoyed!!!
Ignore the judge. Ignore the judge.
Wait, what is the largest city in Nebraska?
Mutual? Obamaha? Buffet? I can’t recall.
Well, good thing that Berkshire-Hathaway conglomerate doesn’t “own” any political types. That would just be !wrong!
That old fart will likely be long deceased by the time this pro-American workers and middle class pipeline gets any oil through it.
Easy does it. With all due respect, she is a County Court Judge!
In Nebraska, it is the lowest level court; after that is District Courts, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Let’s not get too worked up over this.
The environmentalists are teaming up with land owners and property rights advocates to oppose the use of eminent domain to build the pipeline.
I am all for the pipeline, but the judge was right.
If the law says the Public Service Commission determines eminent domain then we don’t give that determination to anyone else. I sure as Hell don’t want corporations deciding if they get to take my property for profit.
This decision will stand for about 3 days until it hit’s the appeals court and Judge Podunk gets a lesson in law.
There shall be a Public Service Commission, consisting of not less than three nor more than seven members, as the Legislature shall prescribe, whose term of office shall be six years, and whose compensation shall be fixed by the Legislature. Commissioners shall be elected by districts of substantially equal population as the Legislature shall provide. The powers and duties of such commission shall include the regulation of rates, service and general control of common carriers as the Legislature may provide by law. But, in the absence of specific legislation, the commission shall exercise the powers and perform the duties enumerated in this provision.
Sure sounds to me like the legislature has the authority to determine what powers and duties the Public Service Commission has.
I believe you are correct. The commission is a creature created by the state and in the absence of clear language baring the legislature from assigning the power to the governor it’s ok.
Agreed. The legislature gave the governor the authority to act. And the Public Service Commission gets its authority from the governor and the legislature.
I’m beginning to wish that a few governors would respond to these activist, left-wing judges who ignore the law by signing Executive Orders ordering them to be instantly hanged by the neck from their judicial benches.
But they passed a law in 2011 giving the Governor that call on Keystone. Isn't that a law?
Folks, the issue concerns the Nebraska STATE Constitution:
“Three landowners sued Governor Heineman and the State of Nebraska in 2012 arguing LB 1161 violated the Nebraska State Constitution that makes it clear common carriers are regulated by the Public Service Commission. LB 1161 took that authority away from the PSC and instead gave the Department of Environmental Quality, an arm of the Governor’s office, authority to review the route...”
If the state constitution gives the PSC responsibility to regulate X, then a law passed by the legislature cannot overturn the Constitution.
The ruling can be found here:
“It is clear that “legislation which directs that the PSC cannot exercise its constitutionally granted power over a particular common carrier or a class of common carriers” violates NEB. CONST. art. IV, § 20.241 As such, “NEB. CONST. art. IV, §20, requires that the power to regulate common carriers exist either in the PSC or the Legislature.,,242 Because LB1161 has the effect of either temporarily or permanently divesting the PSC of control over the routing decisions of oil pipelines subject to the act, and because LB1161 vests such regulatory control over common carriers not in the Legislature but in NDEQ and the Governor, the evidence before this court clearly establishes LB1161 violates NEB. CONST. art. IV, § 20, and therefore is unconstitutional.
Furthermore, the court finds there is no set of circumstances under which such provisions could be constitutional.”
The court threw out most of the objections to LB1161, but found that the Nebraska Constitution does not allow the Gov to take over authority given to the PSC.
Well “Canada” is building a pipeline over the Rockies to Kitimat. I’m sure the flags on the tankers won’t make much difference.
The power of eminent domain is a sovereign power which exists independent of the Constitution of Nebraska. Burger v. City of Beatrice, 181 Neb 213, 147 NW2d 784 (1967)Domina Law Group pc llo Green Paper - BOLD Nebraska October 2011
They had plenty of time to bring this up earlier. Hit Nebraska with a lawsuit for all expenses incurred as a result of their delays.
D or R?
The court upheld the law on eminent domain concerns. It was overturned on other grounds.
Still more delays in getting that line built.
Was the role of the Public Utilities Commission (with reference to eminent domain matters) laid out in the Nebraska constitution? If so, the judge could be right.
If not, why couldn’t the legislative branch, with signature of the Executive, make such a determination?
Key words here “three Nebraska Landowners”. Which one is Ted Turner or if not, how much is he paying them while ranchers everywhere see the lowest herd numbers in decades?
Bingo. You nailed it.
I’m in favor of building the line, but I’m also in favor of doing so legally.
Your argument is a non sequitur as this isn’t about legislative authority. It is about a private company being given government powers.
Here’s the only page about her that I could find. I’d guess that she’s a flaming liberal, but I don’t know:
"Under the Court's ruling, TransCanada has no approved route in Nebraska," Dave Domina, the landowners' attorney, said in a statement. "TransCanada is not authorized to condemn the property against Nebraska landowners. The pipeline project is at standstill in this state." Domina said the ruling means that the governor's office has no role to play in the pipeline, and decisions within the state must be made by the Public Service Commission. The decision on a federal permit still rests with President Barack Obama.