U.S. State Department sets Feb. 2 deadline for input on Keystone

Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:58pm EST
 
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WASHINGTON Jan 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department told other federal agencies on Friday it needs to hear their views on the Keystone XL pipeline by Feb. 2 as officials conclude their assessment of the controversial project.

The State Department is reviewing whether the proposed pipeline by TransCanada Corp is in the U.S. national interest and is taking input from eight federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior, Commerce and Homeland Security departments.

"Once we have received all of the information needed for completion of the review, that information has been analyzed, and the final documents have been prepared, a determination will be made," a State Department official said.

The pipeline, which would take Canadian oil to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, has become a point of contention between the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress and the Obama administration, which wants the State Department to complete its review of plans for the pipeline before making a decision.

Republicans are pushing for the pipeline as a project that will create jobs and provide energy security for the United States. The House has passed a bill for the pipeline and the Senate is scheduled to vote on it this month, despite the threat of veto from President Barack Obama, who has questioned how beneficial it will be for the United States.

The State Department has jurisdiction over the pipeline since it crosses the border. It considers factors such as energy supplies, and the pipeline's impact on the environment and economy. (Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Bill Trott and Andre Grenon)