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U.S. Denies TransCanada Request to Delay Pipeline Review

Reports say the Obama administration could reject Keystone XL as early as this week.

A 2013 Keystone XL pipeline protects in Washington, D.C., via Wikimedia Commons user Jmcdaid

On Monday, the oil company TransCanada asked the U.S. State Department to temporarily suspend its review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline—a move, critics said, calculated to punt the decision until after the November 2016 elections. Now the U.S. government has responded: It has rejected TransCanada’s request, and will not put its review of the pipeline project on hold.

“The secretary [John Kerry] 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,” a State Department spokesman said in a briefing Monday.

As a result, the Wall Street Journal reports, the Obama administration is prepared to reject the $10 billion pipeline proposal as early as this week, on the grounds that it is not environmentally safe. President Barack Obama has promised that he will make a decision on the pipeline before he leaves office.

The pipeline must receive approval from the State Department because it would cross the U.S.-Canada border. That approval process began way back in 2008. If it is approved, Keystone XL will transport over 800,000 barrels of oil a day, carrying them from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Environmental groups (and the Environmental Protection Agency) say the pipeline will ensure the continued use of fossil fuels, which would lead to the release of more greenhouse gases. They also argue Keystone XL would make oil spills more likely, create water waste and pollution, and speed up deforestation.

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