Keystone XL
A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp's planned Keystone XL oil pipeline Reuters

The US House of Representatives has voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline in a move that sets the stage for a showdown with President Barack Obama.

The House voted 266 to 153 in favour of granting permission for the construction of the oil pipeline, with 28 Democrats backing the legislation.

Obama has previously vowed to veto the legislation if it arrives on his desk.

A further hurdle to the construction of the pipeline was removed on Friday 9 January when the state of Nebraska's Supreme Court overturned a court ruling that would have blocked its proposed route through the state.

Republican supporters seized on the ruling and said Obama had run "out of excuses" for delaying a decision on whether to back the pipeline.

Its backers have said it could create jobs and reduce the price American consumers would eventually pay for petrol.

Its opponents have stressed concerns over the long-term environmental damage that could result from the project and suggested the oil would be exported regardless, meaning it would be of little benefit to US consumers.