A group of local landowners in York County filed a motion for an injunction against TransCanada for the use of eminent domain. The company had attempted to take land from around 100 property owners to expand its pipeline from Canada through the US for the Keystone XL project.
The injunction is just temporary while the landowners fight to prevent the pipeline company from using condemnation to take the properties. The court will have to listen to the case and determine the constitutionality of TransCanada’s use of this power since it is for a private foreign company.
TransCanada will have to reapply for a permit to build its pipeline if the landowners win their case. It could result in a delay of up to three years for the corporation.
The company has agreed to halt its eminent domain proceedings until the case can be heard by the Nebraska Supreme Court. This ruling follows another ruling in Holt County that had similar results against the same corporation.
The argument will challenge the constitutionality of providing eminent domain access to a foreign entity and the constitutionality of LB 1161, which was the state law that provided the authority to TransCanada in the first place. This law removed the power of granting eminent domain access from the Public Service Commission and gave it to the then-Governor Dave Heineman.
A previous ruling upheld the law by the lack of a required supermajority. The attorneys for the landowners believe there is a strong likelihood that they will reverse the decision in that law and return the power of granting eminent domain access back to the Public Service Commission. It is expected to be 12 to 18 months before the final decision will be made in this case.