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North Dakota landowner loses bid to reopen pipeline case

BISMARCK--A Barnes County landowner's attempt to reopen her condemnation case with the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline has failed.

Ramona Klein of Valley City had asked Southeast District Judge John Paulson to re-open the case and appoint a special master to watchdog the company's construction through her land. She also sought a penalty against TransCanada for missing a legal document filing deadline in July.

But at a hearing Wednesday in Valley City, Paulson refused to re-open the case, said Klein's lawyer, John Gosbee of Mandan.

"Our watchdog was kenneled," Gosbee said Friday.

Klein was among several Barnes County landowners who resisted allowing the Keystone line to cross their land and were taken to court by TransCanada. The North Dakota Public Service Commission had granted TransCanada a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which allowed the company to take easements by eminent domain.

All landowners had signed easement agreements by the end of July and the court cases were dismissed. At that time, TransCanada was to file a court document lifting a legal "cloud" on Klein's land, but missed the deadline by several days.

Klein and Gosbee argued for the court to appoint a master after they contend a construction worker on the line nearly ran them over with a truck.

The 30-inch diameter pipeline is under construction through eastern North Dakota, between Walhalla and Cogswell. When completed next year, it will carry crude oil from Canadian tar sands fields in northern Alberta to hubs and refineries in Illinois, and later, to Oklahoma.