A bill that would resume a state review of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline won final approval from Nebraska lawmakers on Wednesday.
Lawmakers voted 44-5 to forward the measure to Gov. Dave Heineman, who has said he supports the project.
The measure authorizes the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to review possible routes through the state and hold at least one public hearing on its evaluation. The department's findings would be included in a federal review. A federal permit for the proposed transnational pipeline was denied in January.
Opponents say the bill effectively rubber stamps the project through Nebraska. The bill also requires an evaluation of the social, environmental and economic impact of any proposed route, but Ken Winston of the Nebraska Sierra Club says that wording lacks teeth because the bill doesn't define any of those impacts or specify whether they should factor into the final decision.
A spokesman for pipeline developer TransCanada says the bill will place the review process in the hands of Nebraskans, regardless of what happens at the federal level.