November 2, TransCanada, the company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline which is proposed to span 1,179 miles of land from Canada to the US Gulf Coast, has asked the U.S. State Dept. to suspend its review of the project. The State Department does not have to grant TransCanada’s request for a suspension and instead can continue the review process.
By Sherry Vogel
This decision disappoints many, but surprises no one. Ahead of their announcement, President Barack Obama intended to make a decision on the pipeline before his presidency ends in January 2017.
Some pipeline opponents contend that TransCanada hopes to delay the review process in hopes that a more sympathetic Republican administration will move into the White House.
TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper denies that their request for the suspension has anything to do with an expected rejection by the Obama administration. He contends that the company’s focus isn’t on the political machinations of what Obama may or may not do or who will be in office a year from now.
The Keystone which would span through our local area and run down through South Dakota into Nebraska has met great opposition in the Corn Husker State. Bold Nebraska, an environmental group, and landowners in that state are challenging Gov. Dave Heineman’s authority to approve a Nebraska route. President Obama, who has final approval of the pipeline because it would cross the US-Canada border, has been awaiting the Nebraska ruling before issuing his decision.
Both Montana Senators, senior Democratic Senator Jon Tester, and junior Republican Senator Steve Daines have expressed disappointment following news of this suspension.