Keystone XL Pipeline Eminent Domain Case Heats Up In Nebraska

Tara Dodrill

The fate of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline still hangs in the balance, but a lesser known aspect of the debate now faces a court challenge in Nebraska. Three property owners in the state maintain that their elected representatives gave Governor Dave Heineman the authority to take away their land for the pipeline project.

The Nebraska State Legislature reportedly transferred ownership of the land to Governor Heineman and then through him to Keystone Pipeline XL Calgary-based builder TransCanada Corporation. The eminent domain confiscation of land violated the Nebraska State Constitution's separation of powers, according to the lawsuit filed by the land owners.

David Domina, an attorney for the Nebraska property owners in the eminent domain case, had this to say about the Keystone XL Pipeline land acquisition:

"The legislature is not empowered to delegate power to a private company at the expense of its residents."

Bruning has this to say about the eminent domain challenge in court documents:

"Prior to 2011, pipeline carriers were automatically provided with eminent domain authority to construct pipelines in, across and through Nebraska."