Saturday, November 12, 2011

U.S. delays decision on Keystone XL until after 2012 election

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama administration, under pressure from officials in Nebraska and environmental activists, announced on Nov. 10 that it would review the route of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, effectively delaying any decision about its fate until after the 2012 election.

The State Department said in a statement that it was ordering a review of alternate routes to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska, which would have been put at risk by a rupture of the 1,700-mile pipeline carrying dilbit extracted from oil sands formations in Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.

The move is the latest in a series of administration decisions pushing back environmental matters beyond next November's presidential election to try to avoid the heat from opposing interests - business lobbies or environmental and health advocates - and to find a political middle ground.

The proposed project by TransCanada put the president in a political squeeze between the demand for a secure source of oil and the thousands of jobs the project will bring, and the loud agitation of environmental advocates who threatened to withhold electoral support next year if he approved it.tar sands

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