Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman signed measures that give the state power to regulate certain aspects of pipelines in Nebraska.
Environmentalists had expressed concern over TransCanada's plans to build the $7 billion Keystone XL oil sands pipeline through Nebraska. The original route had the pipeline passing through a regional aquifer but TransCanada has said it would consider alternative options.
This means a final decision on the pipeline from Canada won't come until 2013.
Nebraska lawmakers approved legislation that directs the state's Public Service Commission authority to review potential oil pipeline projects using input from the public.
Another measure requires Nebraska to fund a supplemental environmental impact statement about pipelines through the state. Lawmakers said they were concerned about TransCanada paying for the consultants in the federal review.
The U.S. State Department earlier this year said it didn't see major environmental issues tied to Keystone XL.
Keystone XL would carry oil from tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.