Nebraska Ruling On Pipeline Could Be A Blow To TransCanada The Senate is set to vote on the Keystone XL pipeline although President Obama has vowed to veto it. What does Nebraska's Supreme Court ruling allowing the pipeline to proceed mean for those involved?
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Nebraska Ruling On Pipeline Could Be A Blow To TransCanada

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Nebraska Ruling On Pipeline Could Be A Blow To TransCanada

Nebraska Ruling On Pipeline Could Be A Blow To TransCanada

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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I'm joined now by Attorney Brian Jorde. He represents the Nebraska landowners who've been challenging Keystone XL. Mr. Jorde, welcome.

BRIAN JORDE: Thank you. Happy to be here.

BLOCK: And we just heard the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling today described as a victory for TransCanada. You don't see it as a victory for TransCanada. Why not?

JORDE: Well, in fact, it's the worst possible outcome for TransCanada. Three of the four judges that could have decided the case once and for all on the merits chose essentially to put the case on a procedural issue of standing, therefore opening up the door unfortunately for more delays until we can sort out whether or not the governor of Nebraska can actually give eminent domain powers to a foreign company.

BLOCK: At the same time, it sounds like TransCanada is quite pleased by what happened in Nebraska today.

JORDE: Well, TransCanada is and has been focused solely on PR and that's what they've been doing and they're very good at it and they've got plenty of money to throw around. It's their job to spin this in the best light. It's my job to tell our clients what it actually is and move forward without any care for headlines or anyone else's misunderstanding of the facts.

BLOCK: You're saying that you wouldn't consider this a loss in State Supreme Court but then that effect is that the legislative bill that passed in Nebraska approving this route does stand because of what the court did.

JORDE: As of the time of this conversation, yes, because there's not a case challenging it now. So the essence of what happened today is the worst possible perfect storm for TransCanada because had the Supreme Court - all seven - made a ruling whether for or against us, there would've been clarity.

BLOCK: Is part of the problem here that because the exact route of the pipeline is not known, it's going to be hard for you to find plaintiffs who can say, yes, this pipeline will go directly across my land? I do have standing. I am affected.

JORDE: It's actually going to be surprisingly simple now, you know. We filed this case in 2012. But now, TransCanada is getting very close, according to them, threatening eminent domain action and I'm sure we'll start seeing that and obviously, if that occurs, it'll be very clear who's affected directly by this.

BLOCK: Mr. Jorde, this Keystone XL pipeline has been studied for six years now. A lot of polls show that most Americans say Keystone XL should be built. I believe most Nebraskans polled have said that as well. Why shouldn't this pipeline move forward?

JORDE: Well, first of all, our lawsuit isn't about whether or not it should move forward. It's about whether or not a governor unilaterally should give a foreign corporation or be able to give them the power to take land from Nebraskans. We don't believe the governor, a political position, standing alone should have that type of power.That's why we're fighting it. Environmentalists will give you all the data. You can go to the gas station and see it certainly isn't affecting gas prices. The jobs' numbers have been completely overblown. It's not in our nation's interest. It sends a foreign product through a foreign-owned pipeline through tax-free ports for distribution overseas to foreign markets. It's really a farce. The voters are for it because they don't understand it. It's nuance and all they hear is, you know, American job support, American and North American energy independence. Those are all lies. They're all complete lies. And hopefully, part of the work we've done will eliminate that.

BLOCK: Well, when you meet with your clients, what's your message to them?

JORDE: Well, you know, I mean, in some way if they're against this project having clarity, congratulations. You've got potentially another year or two of no clear decision in Nebraska. Nebraska is completely unaffected by anything President Obama does or anything that Congress does because of the state law issue of which they have no control. So regardless of what happens either today or this week or next month, on a federal level, it's completely meaningless in terms of whether or not a route can be valid within the state of Nebraska. So for those hoping for a delay, congratulations. You've just got an invitation for a huge delay.

BLOCK: Brian Jorde is an attorney. He represents Nebraska landowners who've been challenging the Keystone XL pipeline. Mr. Jorde, thank you.

JORDE: Thank you so much.


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