“The U.S. State Department will…extend the government comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, likely postponing a final decision on the controversial project until after the November 4 midterm elections,” Reuters explained.
Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama have final say over whether the pipeline will be built because it crosses the U.S.-Canada border.
Reporters learned of the decision after a call between high-level congressional staff and State Department officials.
“The justification is the need to wait on continued litigation over a Nebraska court decision earlier this year, which threw part of the project’s route in doubt, two sources said today after a call between the State Department and congressional staff,” reported Politico.
In the end, the decision came down to politics, according to Politico, though there are no shortage of climate change and ecological concerns for the prospective pipeline.
“A delay past November would spare Obama a politically difficult decision on whether to approve the pipeline, angering his green base and environmentally minded campaign donors — or reject it, endangering pro-pipeline Democrats,” they reported.
Proponents and Opponents Respond
Twitter has been abuzz since rumors of the announcement started swirling and many prominent individuals with a stake in the fight have already chimed in.
“It’s as if our leaders simply don’t understand that climate change is happening in real time–that it would require strong, fast action to do anything about it. While we’re at it, the State Department should also request that physics delay heat-trapping operations for a while, and that the El Nino scheduled for later this spring be pushed back to after the midterms. One point is clear: without a broad and brave movement, DC would have permitted this dumb pipeline in 2011. So on we go.”
Elijah Zarlin, CREDO‘s senior campaign manager, said: “It is deeply disappointing that Secretary Kerry and President Obama can’t yet muster the courage to stand up to the oil industry and reject Keystone XL. Still, this is yet another defeat for TransCanada, tar sands developers like the Koch Brothers, and oil-soaked politicians. No doubt, the nearly 100,000 people who have pledged to risk arrest to stop Keystone XL played a key role in pushing the administration to more accurately consider the full impact of this project – which must clearly result in rejection. No delays will diminish our commitment to stopping Keystone XL.”
On the other side, Fox News referred to the decision as a “Friday News Dump” and the Koch Brothers-funded American Energy Alliance (AEA) tweeted, “Most had never even heard of @justinbieber back when @TransCanada applied for #KeystoneXL permits,” alluding to the fact Keystone XL has now been up for debate for five years.
“It took the U.S. less than 4 years to win two theaters in World War II,” stated Everly. “It’s been five years and we can’t approve a metal pipe.”
One thing’s for certain: the prospective pipeline will likely become a major politico “hot potato” in the months leading up to the November 2014 elections.