Over four years ago a Naper, NE, farmer called me. He asked for my help.
He said a foreign tar sands pipeline company was being pushy and threatening to take land from Nebraska farmers and ranchers.
Since then, I’ve traveled across Nebraska educating thousands of folks on the constitution, eminent domain, and property rights. Most people I talked with had a difficult time understanding how a foreign for-profit company could be empowered to take their land – some of which had been in families for over 100 years.
There aren’t many more things as personal as the home or land you own. I understood the frustration having seen it countless times over my career but we need to focus on what could be done to protect and not waste time lamenting the status quo.
Throughout this process I met three individuals who had had enough. They didn’t believe a foreign company should have a special treatment above the constitution. They didn’t believe politicians should give a sweetheart deal to this foreign oil company over Nebraska citizens.
They didn’t believe the Easement Terms being offered which include landowner liability for oil spills, leaving the dirty pipeline under the ground to rot once, and the ability to change the use of the pipe to transport water out of Nebraska if desired. After extensive research and legal analysis I determined there where problems with the bill, LB 1161, the Governor signed in to law. We initiated a legal challenge against the government officials involved.
In May 2012 we alleged these core defects with LB 1161:
- Unlawfully delegates to the Governor, powers over a common carrier contrary to Neb Const Art IV, § 20.
- Unlawfully delegates to the Governor, a single political office holder, the power of eminent domain violating Neb Const Art II, § 1.
- Unlawfully eliminates the opportunity for judicial review contrary to Neb Const Art II, § 1 and Neb Const Art V, § 1.
- It is Special Legislation designed to benefit a single foreign corporation.
- Unlawfully allocated over $5 million in state funds to pay for the review of the proposed route.
Trial was held on September 27, 2013, in District Court of Lancaster Co. We won. The Government then appealed.
On September 5th, I appeared in the Nebraska Supreme Court to argue the case once and for all and stood for defense of Nebraskans, their individual liberties, and against political shortcuts for Big Oil. Watch Oral Argument Here.
I am honored to be the voice for those who needed to be heard and for the opportunity to once again defend Nebraska’s constitution.
Work outside of Nebraska has included assisting a Texas family in need after being run around all while there home was destroyed by KXL pipeline construction. They tell the story here in their own words.