A judge Monday denied Nebraska’s request to dismiss a lawsuit against the state’s pipeline siting law.
Under that law, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is evaluating the route proposed by pipeline company TransCanada for its Keystone XL oil pipeline. NDEQ is expected to send a report to Gov. Dave Heineman in early January. The governor then has 30 days to approve or disapprove and send his decision to the federal government, which has final say.
The lawsuit argues the Nebraska Constitution gives power over pipelines to the Public Service Commission, not NDEQ and the governor. The state argued the lawsuit should be dismissed, because, among other reasons, no decision has yet been made on the route.
In her order, Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie Stacy wrote that the constitutional issues raised in the lawsuit are “neither hypothetical nor contingent on future decisions of the NDEQ or the governor and are fit for judicial review at this time.”
The decision means the challenge to the law will continue, even as the state and federal governments rely on that law to reach their decisions on the pipeline.