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State Department Indefinitely Delays Keystone XL Pipeline Decision

The U.S. State Department on Friday afternoon said that it is giving eight federal agencies an extension for reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline project proposal.

The department said the decision partly hinges on Nebraska Supreme Court litigation that could affect the pipeline's route. For that reason, there's no timeline on the delay.

"In addition, during this time we will review and appropriately consider the unprecedented number of new public comments, approximately 2.5 million, received during the public comment period that closed on March 7, 2014," the State Department said in a statement.

While a Nebraska judge in February sided with landowners who argued that it was unconstitutional to grant the power of eminent domain to Gov. Heineman and, in turn, TransCananda to make way for Keystone, state Attorney General Jon Bruning appealed the ruling. The Lincoln Journal Star reported that "those following the case don't expect a decision until 2015."

Still, the delay was a cause for applause from the pipeline's opponents. 

"This is a huge victory for climate champions and communities from Alberta down to Nebraska and the Gulf," All Risk, No Reward Coalition spokeswoman Rachel Wolf said. "Every day without Keystone XL is a day that we keep high-carbon tar sands in the ground. The State Department's announcement to postpone a final decision on Keystone XL pending further certainty on the Nebraska route confirms, yet again, that this project not permit-able.

 

"This export pipeline fails the climate test, fails the jobs test, and doesn't even have a legal route."

 

To Tom Steyer and NextGen Climate, the delay only emphasizes the fact that it's a horrible idea.

"First, since the pipeline would significantly increase carbon pollution, we know that it fails the climate test laid out by President Obama last year," Steyer said. "Keystone XL is the economic key to unlocking the Alberta tar sands. As Canadian oil interests have confirmed, the oil industry cannot maximize the extraction of some of the world's dirtiest oil without it.

"Second, our leaders must demand that in advance of any decision on the project, TransCanada finally come clean on whether all of the refined oil will stay in the United States. TransCanada has said the United States should support the pipeline because it would provide energy independence for the United States, but they have ducked, dodged and refused to commit to keeping the refined oil in our country."

Still, others would have preferred an outright denial of the 1,179-mile pipeline.

“It is deeply disappointing that Secretary Kerry and President Obama can’t yet muster the courage to stand up to the oil industry and reject Keystone XL," said Elijah Zarlin, CREDO's senior campaign manager. “Still, this is yet another defeat for TransCanada, tar sands developers like the Koch Brothers, and oil-soaked politicians. No doubt, the nearly 100,000 people who have pledged to risk arrest to stop Keystone XL played a key role in pushing the administration to more accurately consider the full impact of this project—which must clearly result in rejection.

"No delays will diminish our commitment to stopping Keystone XL."

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Judge Sides With Landowners, Strikes Down Eminent Domain Law Allowing Keystone XL

Keystone XL’s Environmental Impact an Afterthought on ‘Meet the Press’

Could We Win the Keystone XL Battle But Still Lose the Tar Sands War?

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