U.S. will not pause Keystone review; Obama expected to reject

Wed Nov 4, 2015 6:31pm EST
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By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States formally denied a request on Wednesday to pause the review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, a decision expected to lead to the project's rejection by the Obama administration.

TransCanada Corp's (TRP.TO: Quote) request to the State Department for a delay was seen by many as an attempt to postpone the decision until after President Barack Obama left office and a new president more friendly to the plan took over in 2017.

The White House declined to comment on the State Department's decision.

Secretary of State John Kerry has not given a timeline for making a recommendation on the $8 billion project.

"The secretary 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," State Department spokesman John Kirby told a news conference on Wednesday.

The State Department must issue a recommendation because the project crosses the border with Canada.

Since it was proposed seven years ago, the pipeline has been the heart of a struggle between environmentalists opposed to oil sands development and defenders of fossil fuels.

The nearly 1,200-mile (2,000-km) pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil sands crude to Nebraska en route to refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast.   Continued...

A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, Nebraska, in this file photo taken March 10, 2014.   REUTERS/Lane Hickenbottom/Files