Nebraska judge blocks key law on Keystone XL

AP

A Nebraska judge has struck down a law that allowed the Keystone XL oil pipeline to proceed through the state — a victory for opponents who have tried to block the project to carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries.

Keystone is critical to Canada, which needs more infrastructure to export its growing oil sands production, and Wednesday’s ruling could cause further delays in finishing the pipeline. The province of Alberta has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves.

Judge Stephanie Stacy issued a ruling that invalidated Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman’s approval of the route. Stacy agreed with opponents’ arguments that a law passed in 2011 improperly allowed Heineman to give TransCanada powers of eminent domain within the state. Stacy said the decision should have been made by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities.

Dave Domina, the landowners’ attorney, said in a statement that the ruling means TransCanada has “no approved route in Nebraska. TransCanada is not authorized to condemn the property against Nebraska landowners. The pipeline project is at standstill in this state.”