For Immediate Release Contact: John Hansen 402-476-8815
January 9, 2015
Nebraska Farmers Union Disappointed With Nebraska Supreme Court’s Failure to Decide the Constitutional Merits of Lawsuit
Lincoln, NE. Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) issued the following statement relative to the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Decision on the constitutionality of LB1161:
“The state of Nebraska, especially directly impacted Nebraska landowners deserved a definitive answer from the Nebraska Supreme Court as to whether or not LB1161 is constitutional. They did not get that answer today. While the District Court and a majority of four of the Supreme Court Justices found LB1161 to be unconstitutional, three judges did not rule on constitutional merits because of standing issues, so the constitutionally suspect LB1161 siting and routing process remains in place.”
Our state and our impacted landowners deserve a constitutional process to site and route oil pipelines. LB1161 was drafted by TransCanada, was passed at the behest of TransCanada, was passed for the exclusive benefit and advantage of TransCanada, and is special use legislation at its worst. Our state already has a sound siting and routing process on the books passed in the Special Session and signed by the Governor that uses the normal process for siting and routing our state uses for the siting and routing of all other pipelines. That clearly constitutional process is the process TransCanada should be forced to use.
“If standing was the reason three Supreme Court Justices did not rule on the constitutionality of LB1161 in this case, standing will not be the issue when TransCanada uses eminent domain against a landowner unwilling to voluntarily sign an easement, and that case is appealed. While it is encouraging that the District Court and a majority of the Supreme Court Justices agreed with the constitutional questions NeFU raised during the passage of LB1161, NeFU is deeply disappointed that the constitutional merits of LB1161 could not have been resolved today. It appears to us the Supreme Court kicked the can down the road instead of resolving the issue in advance, which continues to put our impacted landowners in harm’s way. Unfortunately, a constitutionally suspect process for siting oil pipelines remains in place.”
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 5,671 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives.