A bill that would allow Nebraska to resume its environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline has won first-round approval from state lawmakers.
Lawmakers voted 35-2 Thursday to advance the measure by
Papillion Sen. Jim Smith.
Pipeline developer TransCanada agreed to submit to a state
environmental review in November, in the midst of a special session
aimed at the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline. Environmentalists and
landowners had protested the pipeline's original path through
Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sandhills region and the
Ogallala Aquifer, a massive groundwater supply.
The state environmental review was halted in January, when
President Barack Obama rejected a federal permit for the project
after congressional Republicans tried to force his hand.
Nebraska lawmakers approved the bill so the state can continue
its review while TransCanada reapplies for federal approval.