Nebraska lawmakers passed a measure that changes a November law passed during a special session that regulates oil pipelines through the state.
Nebraska would be one of the states crossed by the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would require federal approval because it also crosses the U.S.-Canadian border. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman objected to a route for the pipeline through an aquifer, prompting TransCanada to consider alternatives.
Under the latest measure, a pipeline carrier that wants to build a major oil pipeline in the state must get the governor's approval. Eminent domain rights granted to a carrier would be terminated if idled for two years.
"It is estimated that, under the bill's provisions, (the state's environmental agency) will be reimbursed $2 million in fiscal year 2012-13 for work done on a supplemental environmental impact study for TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline," the legislation stated.
Bold Nebraska, one of the group's opposing Keystone XL, said it was "extremely disappointed" that state lawmakers were "rubber-stamping" the project even before TransCanada settled on a route.
Supporters of Keystone XL, planned from Alberta to the southern U.S. coast, describe it as a "shovel-ready" project that will bring jobs and energy security to the United States. Critics say the type of oil designated for the project, so-called tar sands, is more harmful to the environment than conventional crude oil.