The Keystone XL pipeline’s proposed route through Nebraska was legally drawn, lawyers for the state told its Supreme Court in defending legislation, struck down by a state judge, that gave the job to the governor and the conduit’s builder.
With President Barack Obama’s approval of TransCanada Corp.’s planned $5.4 billion pipeline still pending, Nebraska’s attorneys in a filing yesterday reiterated their argument for reversing Judge Stephanie Stacy’s February ruling in favor of landowners who challenged the route selection measure.
The judge said the law that allowed the company and Governor Dave Heineman to map Keystone’s path breached a provision of the state constitution reserving that power to Nebraska’s Public Service Commission.
The state contends the agency’s authorization to regulate common carriers applies only to activity inside the state and not the interstate Keystone XL.
Calgary-based TransCanada has said it plans to build a 1,179-mile (1,897 kilometer), 36-inch diameter conduit capable of carrying 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would connect to an existing network.
Project supporters contend it would create jobs and advance American energy independence. Opponents argue the Keystone will contribute to global warming. Nebraska’s high court has said it will hear the case in September. Its ruling may not come until after Election Day in November.
In their appellate filing, the landowners said TransCanada’s pipeline offered transportation services akin to taxis offering rides to passengers for a fee, or truckers offering cartage for dollars per mile, making the Keystone a common carrier regulated by the Public Service Commission.
The case is Thompson v. Heineman, S-14-0158, Nebraska Supreme Court (Lincoln).