U.S. to Delay Keystone XL Decision

18 04 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Office expresses ‘disappointment’ with decision

Thomson Reuters Posted: Apr 18, 2014 2:18 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 18, 2014 3:13 PM ET

Approval for the proposed extension of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry gas from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, has become a cross-border political and environmental flashpoint issue between the U.S. and Canada.

Approval for the proposed extension of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry gas from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, has become a cross-border political and environmental flashpoint issue between the U.S. and Canada. (The Associated Press)

The U.S. State Department said Friday it was extending the government comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, likely postponing a final decision on the controversial project until after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

The State Department added it was “not starting over,” but wanted to give agencies more time to weigh in.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will make a final decision on whether to allow the pipeline connecting Canada’s oil sands region to Texas refiners but several government agencies were expected to weigh in by the end of May.

A spokesperson with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office expressed dismay  at the delay.

“We are disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said. “This project will create tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, will enhance the energy security of North America,  has strong public support, and the U.S. State Department has, on multiple occasions, acknowledged it will be environmentally sound.”

A dispute over the proposed route of the pipeline has stalled the project in Nebraska, though, and officials will cite that uncertainty in its announcement on Friday justifying the delay.

By linking Canadian fields to refiners in the Gulf Coast, the 1,900-kilometre Keystone XL pipeline would be a boon
to an energy patch where oil sands are abundant but lead to more carbon pollution than many other forms of crude.

Keystone’s foes say that burning fossil fuels to wrench oil sands crude from the ground will worsen climate change, and that the $5.4-billion pipeline, which could carry up to 830,000 barrels a day, would only spur more production.

With files from CBC News

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