TransCanada Corp. shifted its strategy to get the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline built through Nebraska on Wednesday, after announcing it will file an application to have state regulators approve the pipeline's route. The company said it will also drop eminent domain lawsuits and a constitutional challenge over the project.
TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said that after an internal review, the Calgary-based company decided that working with the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) was the best option for establishing the pipeline's route across the state.
"It ultimately saves time, reduces conflict with those who oppose the project and sets clear rules for approval of the route," Girling said.
The company added that "despite having route authority to construct Keystone XL, uncertainty in the courts around the constitutionality of how the route was approved was very likely to carry on once again to the Nebraska Supreme Court."
Attorneys with the Omaha, NE-based firm Domina Law Group pc llo, which represents landowners in the eminent domain cases, did not return messages seeking comment.
Last January, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that a law granting Gov. Dave Heineman the power to approve the pipeline's route through the state could stand, but it declined to rule on its constitutionality (see Shale Daily, Jan. 9). LB 1161, which Heineman signed into law in 2012, gave him the power to bypass the PSC (see Shale Daily, April 18, 2012).
Congress stepped into the fray in late January and early February, passing a law authorizing construction of the pipeline, but President Obama vetoed it on Feb. 24. A subsequent effort to override the veto in the Senate was unsuccessful (see Shale Daily, Feb. 27; Feb. 24; Feb. 12; Jan. 29; Jan. 22).