The Obama administration has postponed its decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Earlier media reports on Friday regarding the delay were confirmed later in the day in a statement issued by the State Department. The early reporting said the decision could be pushed back until after November midterm elections, though the Department statement does not indicate a timeline.
The final report from the State Department on TransCanada's pipeline had been expected in May, but the Department is allowing for more time for input from federal agencies as well as for review of the "unprecedented number of new public comments" — roughly 2.5 million —received before the public comment period ended.
The State Department cited "uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state." In February, a local judge struck down a law that allowed for the tar sands pipeline to pass through the state, garnering cheers from Keystone foes and putting into question the pipeline route.
The State Department's decision to hold off on a decision "shows the problems with the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline continue to grow," stated Jim Murphy, senior counsel of the National Wildlife Federation. "At every turn, polluter allies have tried to game this process and it’s only led to further delay."
“The facts show Keystone XL would worsen climate-disrupting carbon pollution, failing President Obama's climate test. We’re confident that President Obama will ultimately reject Keystone XL as it is clearly not in the national interest,” Murphy stated.
Climate movement 350.org says that the rejection from Obama needs to come now.
Stated co-founder Bill McKibben, "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."
Still, the postponement is "clearly another win for pipeline opponents," added Jamie Henn, communications director for the group.
"We’re going to keep up the pressure on the President to make the right call and continue to expand our broader fight against the fossil fuel industry. Big Oil has run Washington for far too long,” Henn stated.