Congress is voting on Keystone pipeline, but obscure Nebraska panel could still hold sway

Energy Associated Press

Congress is scrambling to vote on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but the project could still end up before an obscure commission in Nebraska that regulates telephones, taxi cabs and grain bins.

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The Nebraska Supreme Court is expected to rule within weeks on whether the Nebraska Public Service Commission must first review the pipeline before it can cross the state. Nebraska is one of six states the proposed $5.4 billion pipeline would traverse once completed.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman gave the green light in January 2013.

Landowners who challenged the law say a ruling in their favor would force Calgary-based pipeline developer TransCanada to start over in Nebraska. Project supporters say the Nebraska case pertains only to its proposed route, and shouldn't prevent the federal government from approving a permit.