A measure that would trigger an environmental review of proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline routes within Nebraska has won first-round legislative approval, despite criticism that state taxpayers will foot the bill.
Lawmakers advanced the measure Wednesday following debate over who should pay for the environmental assessment, to be conducted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood, who proposed the measure, says he wanted to eliminate Nebraskans' concerns about the U.S. State Department review of the Keystone XL.
Project critics have questioned that review because it was conducted by Cardno ENTRIX, a Houston-based environmental consultant with previous financial ties to pipeline developer TransCanada.
Lawmakers advanced the bill, 45-0. Two additional votes are required before it goes to Gov. Dave Heineman.