Nebraska lawmakers to consider pipeline challenge

By GRANT SCHULTE | October 25, 2011 | 2:00 PM EDT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman says he'll call a special legislative session for lawmakers to consider challenging the planned route of a massive transnational oil pipeline.

The Republican governor's Monday decision means Nebraska doesn't intend to just leave the matter to the federal government, which is expected to decide whether to approve the $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline project by year's end.

Pipeline opponents sought the special session to consider a proposal that would have given the state control over the pipe's route. Heineman acknowledges the proposal is likely to face a court challenge.

The 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline would travel Nebraska and five other states. Supporters say it could reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil, while environmental groups say a spill could cause an ecological disaster.