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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Second Judge Stalls Pipeline Land Grab

YORK, Neb. (CN) - A second judge in as many weeks granted a temporary injunction to Nebraska landowners who want to stop a land grab by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline for its Keystone XL project.

In a 6-page ruling Wednesday, York County Judge Mary C. Gilbride found that "A temporary injunction is necessary and proper to protect the status quo and to prevent any relief the plaintiffs might recover from being rendered ineffectual."

A judge in Nebraska's Holt County issued a similar injunction on Feb. 12.

The Holt County injunction affects counties in northern Nebraska, the York County injunction counties in the south. Combined, the two temporary injunctions bring condemnation hearings to a halt along the entire proposed Keystone XL route in the state.

President Obama on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have forced federal approval of the pipeline project. The Nebraska judges' injunctions enjoin condemnation proceedings initiated by TransCanada in the state.

Landowners in the two Nebraska counties sued TransCanada Keystone Pipeline in January to challenge the constitutionality of a state law that grants the Canadian oil giant eminent domain powers .

TransCanada subsequently filed 90 eminent domain cases against Nebraska landowners to clear a path for its project, prompting the injunctions before any land has been condemned, while larger constitutional questions are pending.

Susan and William Dunavan were lead plaintiffs in the York County case, joined by 33 others.

As with the previous injunction, the defense did not file a response to an amended complaint, basically conceding that the injunction was likely.

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