A Nebraska judge has halted TransCanada’s acquisition of private lands for the Keystone XL pipeline.
On Thursday, close to 70 landowners sought temporary injunction to prevent TransCanada from using eminent domain to force them to sell rights allowing the controversial pipeline on their property, Omaha.com reports. Judge Mark Kozisek ordered a stop to land acquisiton until the landowners’ lawsuit was settled. Advocacy Group Bold Nebraska’s director Jane Kleeb called the judge’s order a victory for the landowners.
“We will ... see them in our Supreme Court to finally get clarity on the legality of a foreign corporation using eminent domain for private gain,” Kleeb said in an email following the hearing.
TransCanada agreed to the injunction during Thursday’s hearing, saying they hope the legal issues are solved quickly. “During Keystone XL’s six-and-a-half year review, we have followed every local, state and federal process, even as the goal posts have shifted numerous times,” TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said in a statement. “As part of the agreement, we are seeking an accelerated trial schedule to expedite the process.
“All we have asked for is a clearly defined approval process for Keystone XL,” Cooper added.
Cooper said in his statement that 90 percent of Nebraska landowners that live along the pipeline route have accepted “generous” offers that would allow it on their land.
“With that said,” Cooper stated, “we are committed to working respectfully with all landowners as shown by today’s decision to stay eminent domain actions until there is a final resolution of the plaintiffs’ claims.”