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Law allowing Keystone pipeline in Nebraska struck down

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Nebraska pipeline lawThe controversial Keystone XL pipeline hit another obstacle Wednesday when a judge struck down a Nebraska law that allowed the oil pipeline to cross the state.

Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy issued a ruling that invalidated Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's approval of the route. Stacy said the law unconstitutionally gave the governor authority to approve the route and to allow the oil pipeline company to seize land via eminent domain from Nebraska landowners.

Stacy, siding with three landowner plaintiffs, said authority rests with the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities. His ruling bars Heineman from using the law to advance the pipeline.

The ruling could cause further delays for Keystone XL, which would carry heavy tar sands oil from Canada's Alberta region to the Midwest. Calgary-based TransCanada has been seeking a U.S. permit for the project for years, but lengthy environmental reviews by the State Department have delayed a final decision. President Obama was widely expected, prior to this ruling, to approve or reject the pipeline this year.

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