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Obama kills Keystone XL pipeline plan

Controversial pipeline project that would send Canadian crude to refineries in Texas killed by U.S. government


January 18, 2012
by The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON—It’s official: the Obama administration has rejected TransCanada’s proposed $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline project.

But not all is lost for TransCanada. The project is more likely delayed than dead. Today’s move, however, by the U.S. Department of State puts the White House back in control of the project’s approval process.

“The Department of State recommended to President Obama that the presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline be denied and, that at this time, the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline be determined not to serve the national interest,” State said in a release.

“The president concurred with the department’s recommendation.”

The statement noted that the decision “was predicated on the fact that the department does not have sufficient time to obtain the information necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national interest.”

TransCanada is expected to resubmit an amended plan, which would construct a massive pipe to transport northern Alberta bitumen south to Gulf Coast refineries in the U.S.

The project met with massive opposition in Canada and the U.S. in part because the original route travelled through a key Nebraska aquifer.

Other critics take issue with so-called “dirty oil” from Alberta’s oil sands, while more say Keystone XL embodies North America’s ongoing dependence on fossil fuel.

Perhaps, though, the decision shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Obama administration—trapped between a job-starved economy and a core constituency with strong environmental leanings—said last year it would not make a final decision on Keystone until after the 2012 election.