Daily Management Review

US State Department Rejects Keystone Project Delay Request


US State Department Rejects Keystone Project Delay Request
The much hyped Keystone project is probably going to be rejected by US President Barack Obama and his administration following the formal denial by the US of the a request to pause the review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline on Wednesday.
Many saw the request of TransCanada Corp to the State Department for a delay in the project as an attempt by the company to postpone the decision until after President Barack Obama left office and a new president more friendly to the plan took over in 2017.
While the State Department announced the decision, the White House declined to comment.
There has been no recommendation from US Secretary of State John Kerry about a timeline for making a recommendation on the $8 billion project.
"The secretary believes that, out of respect for that process and all the input that has gone into it, that it is the most appropriate thing to keep that process in place, to continue the review," State Department spokesman John Kirby told a news conference on Wednesday.
Since the project crosses the border with Canada, the State Department therefore must issue a recommendation.
The pipeline has been the heart of a struggle between environmentalists opposed to oil sands development and defenders of fossil fuels since it was proposed seven years ago.
Nearly 830,000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil sands crude to Nebraska en route to refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast would be carried by the nearly 1,200-mile (2,000-km) pipeline.
A major proponent of the project, Senator John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota, believes Obama will turn down the project before the climate change summit in France in December.
“The administration basically holds this project up for seven years as a way to defeat through delay. Now the company asks for a year delay to complete the work in Nebraska, and the Obama administration says no. That clearly shows that they intend to turn down the project,” Hoeven said.
However Hoeven believes that if a Republican takes over the White House in 2017, the project will be approved quickly on its merits even if Obama refuses to give permission to the project.
While most of the Republican presidential candidates support it, all the Democratic presidential hopefuls, including front-runner Hillary Clinton have opposes the project.
While pledging to improve Canada's climate change record, the newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was sworn in on Wednesday, has supported the Keystone XL pipeline project.
It respects the State Department's decision and will continue to press for approval, TransCanada said.
"The fundamental question remains: Do Americans want to continue to import millions of barrels of oil every day from the Middle East and Venezuela or do they want to get their oil from North Dakota and Canada through Keystone XL? We believe the answer is clear and the choice is Keystone XL," said TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper.
The state Department decision was quickly applauded by environmental groups and these groups urged the Obama to follow up by quickly rejecting the pipeline.
"Now that he’s called TransCanada for delay of game, it's time for President Obama to blow the whistle and end this pipeline once and for all," said Jamie Henn, communications director of 350.org, one of the most vocal anti-Keystone activist groups.