Landowners were present in O’Neill to watch proceedings as TransCanada appealed the landowners’ victory in county court. The major oil company argued that the landowners should not be reimbursed for what they had to go through, including attorney fees.
The dozens of families affected by the TransCanada Pipelines gathered after court Monday morning on the depths of the old county courthouse where Brian Jorde explained to them what happened in court.
“Nineteen different families in Holt County resisted, were sued by TransCanada and had the pleasure of going for a year and fighting them and incurring cost and incurring expenses,” Jorde explained. “And that is what we are trying to recoup since they have abandoned the project.”
But that’s the argument as TransCanada said that there is no proof of abandonment.
“TransCanada is arguing that they have not abandoned the condemnations proceedings,” Jorde said. “But I think it was pretty clear by what happened today that the judge is probably leaning in the direction that they have, and the question will come down to whether they have enough evidence as to the amount of fees and expenses actually incurred in the land owners resistance in the pipeline.”
Jorde reassured the landowners that if anything this was a learning experience for the other times the pipeline will be fought in court. He is hopeful since TransCanada has lost every court case thus far in county court.
“He will decide on whether or not he affirms, which means agrees with the county court,” Jorde said. “Or if he sees some issues and we might have to go back to county court and potentially do more work there.”
There is no set time that the judge will make his decision. So for the landowners, it’s more waiting.
"TransCanada continues to think that they can leave landowners in limbo with the expectation that any day they could come knocking on their door putting eminent domain papers in front of them,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska. “TransCanada has no right to continue the stress and financial burden that they are placing on landowners because they have no active permit and therefore have no right to use eminent domain for private gain.”