Nebraska asked to wait on Keystone XL

Jan. 2, 2013 at 10:26 AM   |   Comments

LINCOLN, Neb., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The governor of Nebraska should wait to make decisions on the Keystone XL pipeline route until a court issues a final ruling on state laws, an attorney said.

A U.S. district court judge in Nebraska ruled in favor of landowners who challenged a state law regarding authority over pipelines crossing through the state. Nebraska lawmakers last year granted Gov. Dave Heineman new pipeline authority, a measure opponents say is unconstitutional.

State regulators this week are expected to finish assessing a proposed route for the Keystone XL pipeline through their territory. Heineman will have 30 days to issue his decision on the project.

Brian Jorde, an attorney who represented landowners challenging state laws, said the governor should wait until the courts issue a final ruling during the summer.

"I don't see how the governor would want to go forward," he was quoted by the Omaha World Herald as saying.

Nebraska regulators in November published a draft report for the pipeline, saying a route proposed by TransCanada avoids the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills.

Jane Kleeb, executive director of pipeline opponent Bold Nebraska, said the new route is "no better" than TransCanada's previous proposals.

The U.S. State Department makes the final decisions on the project because the pipeline would cross the U.S. border with Canada.

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