Obama prepared to reject controversial Keystone XL Pipeline

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota set up a camp known as Oyate Wahacanka Woecun, or Shield the People, to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo from Facebook

President Barack Obama is planning to reject a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, according to news reports, but the company behind the controversial project is seeking to delay a decision.

Obama has said he will take action before he leaves office in January 2017. Although a timeline has never been provided, news reports claimed the White House is ready to reject it.

That may be why TransCanada, a Canadian firm, is asking the Department of State to suspend review of its cross-border permit application. The company said it needs more time to secure approval of Nebraska portion of the route.

"We are asking State to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state," President and CEO Russ Girling said in a press release. "I note that when the status of the Nebraska pipeline route was challenged last year, the State Department found it appropriate to suspend its review until that dispute was resolved. We feel under the current circumstances a similar suspension would be appropriate."

The proposed pipeline would run 1,179 miles and cross eight states. The route through Nebraska has been the most contentious due to opposition from farmers, ranchers, property owners and tribes.

Tribes oppose the pipeline due to concerns about treaty rights, sacred sites and the environment. The route in South Dakota, for example, crosses treaty-protected territories.

TransCanada submitted its application in September 2009. It has been under review for a far longer period than other similar projects, the Associated Press reported in August.

"Our expectation at this point is that the president will make a decision before the end of his administration on the Keystone pipeline, but when exactly that will be, I don't know at this point," White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday.

Get the Story:
TransCanada asks U.S. to suspend Keystone pipeline application (The Washington Post 11/3)
TransCanada Suspends Request for Permit to Build Keystone Pipeline (The New York Times 11/3)
TransCanada asks Obama administration to pause Keystone XL review (The Lincoln Journal Star 11/3)

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