Keystone pipeline approval in limbo after Nebraska ruling

(Reuters) – A Nebraska court on Wednesday voided the governor’s decision to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to pass through the Midwestern state, creating another snag for the controversial project to link Canada’s oil sands with refineries in Texas.

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman last year supported legislation that cleared the way for TransCanada Corp’s $5.4 billion pipeline to cross parts of his state.

But some landowners objected to the legislation, saying it disregarded their property rights.

On Wednesday, the District Court of Lancaster County sided with landowners, a move that makes inevitable additional months of delay to the project, already more than five years in the planning.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission, or PSC, is the proper state agency to decide pipeline matters, Judge Stephanie Stacy wrote in a lengthy ruling, declaring the governor’s decision “unconstitutional and void.”

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