The Nebraska Supreme Court will wait until September to hear a challenge by landowners and others opposing Gov. Dave Heineman’s decision to let Keystone XL pipeline builder TransCanada use the power of eminent domain to acquire the necessary right of way. The announcement effectively postpones a ruling on the contentious international issue until after the 2014 mid-term elections. For the past five years, TransCanada Corp. has fought to build a $5.4 billion 1,179-mile pipeline capable of carrying 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. Nebraska landowners argue the project’s path through the state fails to comply with state law. Specifically, the landowners say that the Keystone XL pipeline will offer transportation services similar to truckers providing cartage for dollars per mile, thus making the pipeline a common carrier that should be regulated by the Nebraska Public Service Commission. The state’s attorneys disagree, saying that the legislature properly gave the requisite authorization to Gov. Heineman and TransCanada to determine route selection. After the Nebraska Supreme Court issues a ruling, the State Department and the White House will still need to sign off on the pipeline for it to move forward.
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