NEW YORK A
Nebraska judge has invalidated Gov. Dave Heinemans
decision to approve TransCanada Corp.s
revised Keystone XL route through the state, presenting
further hurdles to the long-delayed project.
"The court finds
plaintiffs are entitled to injunctive relief, and defendants
should be permanently enjoined from enforcing the provisions of
LB 1161, and permanently enjoined from acting pursuant to the
governors Jan. 22, 2013, approval of the Keystone XL
Pipeline route," district court judge Stephanie F. Stacy wrote
in the decision.
"We are disappointed
and disagree with the decision. We will now analyze the
judgment and decide what next steps may be taken," a
TransCanada spokesman told AMM in an e-mail.
general Jon Bruning has filed an appeal against the decision,
according to Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanadas
fourth-quarter earnings statement.
The ruling will likely
futher delay the pipeline, David A. Domina, lawyer for the
plaintiff land owners in the case, told AMM.
"(T)he entire statute
(LB 1161) was declared invalid and there is not a fallback
statute, so the legislature will either have to pass a new law
or the governor will have to win an appeal at the Nebraska
Supreme Court," Domina said.
The appeal process
will likely take a year, while the approval process through the
Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC), the approval process
circumvented by LB 1161, would "probably also (take) pretty
close to a year," according to Domina.
Approvals through the
PSC are typically slated to take seven months, but the process
can be extended to 12 months and beyond, according to its rules
Domina said the
challenge to LB 1161 was prompted partly due to concerns about
TransCanadas approach to getting consent for the line
from Nebraska landowners, but also because of the pipeline
firms steel-procurement strategy.
"One of the things
that is troublesome to some of my farmer and rancher clients
and some Nebraskans is that we have a steel mill in the state
owned by Nucor Corp., but TransCanada proposes to use steel
made overseas to build the pipeline, not U.S.(-produced)
steel," Domina said.
TransCanada has been
criticized before for the origin of steel used in Keystone