Keystone XL Pipeline opponents featured in MSNBC special

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Updated: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 08:28:14 CST

Nebraska is one of the toughest roadblocks in TransCanada's path to laying the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The fight of landowners is catching the attention of one cable news star.

MSNBC's Ed Schultz traveled to the cornhusker state on Friday to hear first-hand why landowners are fighting the pipeline.

A groundbreaking decision came Wednesday after a Lancaster County judge overturned the law allowing Governor Dave Heineman to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline route through the state.

It's giving opponents new hope and momentum.

"We just felt from the beginning the legislature and the Governor stepped out of bounds when they passed LB 1161." Said Randy Thomspon, one of the three landowners who sued the state.

A law that moved the decision to approve the pipeline path from the public service commission to one man, the Governor.

"It was a big win for us. I realize it's not over." Said Thompson.

Dozens of Bold Nebraskans gathered Friday at what has become the symbol of this fight, a clean energy barn built directly in the path of the pipeline.

"We are very excited to get our message out to America." Said Jenni Harrington, owner of the land the barn was built on.

MSNBC's Ed Schultz has publicly said he supports building the pipeline.

Friday, he told members of Bold Nebraska he'll be leaving his opinion out of a show he's shooting with Nebraska landowners.

"This isn't about Ed or the Ed team, this is about telling America a story about the people on the ground." Said Schultz.

"Hopefully we will educate him on some of the issues that are around this project." Said Harrington.

Landowners say the list of issues is nearly endless.

"There's a ton of risk to the water and to the land. Also the liability that falls onto me as the landowner and not the company that owns the pipeline." Said Jim Tarnick, a landowner from Nance County.

"If it contaminated our irrigation, yeah I'm basically out of business. If you can't water your livestock and you can't water your crops, there's not much left." Said Thompson. 

Landowners and concerned citizens alike, say they're grateful someone is willing to listen.

One Bold Nebraska member handing Schultz a gift said, "Ed here's a bit of the barn, it's made from scraps that were leftover."

"It feels like they're slicing the heartland of America open for another country and we're not going to let that happen." Said Harrington.

A final decision will come from President Obama. One that is not expected to come before summer, and now may be delayed even longer. 

MSNBC is expected to air the special next week.