Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline route by regulators in Nebraska was met with muted optimism Monday by some in the energy industry in Calgary.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association issued a statement after the decision was announced, calling the approval "a long-awaited step forward for this critical project, which will offer significant economic benefits for Canada."

It's not the route TransCanada wanted but it's still a victory for the company as it clears the final big regulatory hurdle to getting the pipeline built.

During a meeting in Lincoln, Neb., the state's five-member Public Service Commission voted 3-2 in favour of the proposed $10-billion, 1,897-kilometre pipeline running from Hardisty, Alta., to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

As approved, the pipeline would run farther northeast through Nebraska than was originally proposed.

The commission had been charged with deciding whether the project was in the state's interest. Nebraska was the last state along the route to give its approval to Keystone XL.

Despite the positive outcome, Tim Pickering with Auspice Capital in Calgary says they won't be celebrating just yet.

"There's going to be appeals, there's likely going to be significant legal battles that are going to get thrown at this still to come, so it's not over yet, unfortunately," he said.

"And that's been stated by a number of groups in the U.S. already this morning."

Tim McMillan

Tim McMillan of CAPP called the Keystone XL pipeline announcement "good news for Canada." (CBC)

Tim McMillan, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, called the announcement "great news for Canada" but said he also expects further legal challenges.

"The expectation of major infrastructure projects today, be it pipelines or powerlines or new power generating facilities, is that there was the potential and likelihood of legal recourse," he said.

"That is true of this one as well, but to get the approval of the final regulatory body, I think, really allows TransCanada to make their final investment decision and hopefully move this project forward in a timely manner."

Premier Rachel Notley welcomed the decision in a statement , calling it "another step in the broader effort to bring more Alberta oil to the world."