O'NEILL, Neb. -- TransCanada announced on Tuesday that the company will pull out of the lawsuit filed by over 100 Nebraska landowners challenging their right to use eminent domain to seize land for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Facing mounting legal expenses and a likely loss in court, the company will instead go through the Public Service Commission (PSC) review process it had originally hoped to avoid.
"We believe that going through the PSC process is the clearest path to achieving route certainty for the Keystone XL Project in Nebraska. It ultimately saves time, reduces conflict with those who oppose the project and sets clear rules for approval of the route," said a representative of the company in a statement.
The PSC process will take at least a year, and cannot move forward if and when President Obama rejects the federal permit for the pipeline.
Transcanada representatives tell 10/11 News the company expects succeed in getting the pipeline approved. They hope the PSC has a decision in the next 7 to 12 months.
“This is a major victory for Nebraska landowners who refused to back down in the face of bullying by a foreign oil company,” said Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska. “It has long been clear that TransCanada has no legal route through the state of Nebraska and no legal right to use eminent domain against landowners. Now they’ve recognized that they’ve lost in Nebraska and are desperately trying another tactic to see their risky pipeline built through our state. We are happy to continue this fight in the Nebraska PSC, but we are confident that it will never come to that. We know President Obama understands that this pipeline is all risk and no reward for Americans. We call on him to do the right thing now and fully reject the permit once and for all.”
“TransCanada realizes that LB 1161 is unconstitutional,” added Art Tanderup, a farmer whose land is on the proposed pipeline route. “This is a victory for landowners standing up to prevent a foreign corporation from taking their land for corporate greed through eminent domain. TransCanada pushed LB1161 through the legislature to avoid using the Public Service Commission procedure that they now want to follow. We believe that the PSC will not allow Keystone XL to be placed in the Sand Hills or over the Ogallala Aquifer but are confident President Obama will reject the pipeline before the PSC even has a chance to conduct a review.”