Neb. judge allows Keystone XL lawsuit to proceed

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A judge has ruled that opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska can proceed with their legal challenge to a state law that paved the way for a new project route.

Lancaster County District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy on Tuesday rejected a motion by Nebraska state officials to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed by three Nebraska landowners asserts that Gov. Dave Heineman's decision to approve a new pipeline route was rooted in an unconstitutional state law. The law was passed during a special legislative session in 2011 as a way to reroute the pipeline away from Nebraska's environmentally sensitive Sandhills.

Stacy did not rule on the merits of the case, but said opponents should be allowed to present their evidence and arguments.