Legislature passes pipeline bill

By:  Newsroom

A bill that would resume a state review of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline has won final approval.

Lawmakers voted 44-5 Wednesday to forward the measure to Gov. Dave Heineman, who has said he supports the project. The measure authorizes the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to review possible routes through the state and hold at least one public hearing on its evaluation. The department's findings would be included in a federal review.

A federal permit for the proposed pipeline was denied in January. Opponents say the bill effectively rubber stamps the project through Nebraska. A spokesman for pipeline developer TransCanada says the bill will place the review process in the hands of Nebraskans, regardless of what happens at the federal level.