Environmental groups are claiming victory in a federal decision that prevents a University of Nebraska biologist from using his research permit to help clear the way for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared this month that professor Wyatt Hoback can only remove American burying beetles from their habitat for research purposes -- not to clear a path for development projects.
Last year, the agency allowed pipeline developer TransCanada to mow prairie vegetation through the Nebraska Sandhills, and let Hoback remove beetles out of the pipeline's proposed path. Environmental groups sued, saying the pipeline hadn't yet been approved.
A spokesman for one of the groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, says the decision could delay construction. The decision requires TransCanada to seek a separate permit.