Protesters cover themselves in simulated oil and stage a "die-in" outside of the Canadian consulate during a demonstration against Athabasca oil sands production and the Keystone Pipeline. (File/UPI/Brian Kersey) | License Photo
WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- The Obama administration kicked the controversial Keystone XL pipeline down the road again Friday, announcing an extended comment period.
While the debate over the pipeline involves environmental and energy security issues, the delay involves a court fight in Nebraska that has left the route uncertain. The U.S. State Department said in a statement that “uncertainty created by the ongoing litigation” means no final decision can be made.
The state of Nebraska is appealing a judge's decision changing the route -- and that could mean no final decision will be made until after the November congressional elections. The final decision is in President Obama's hands because the pipeline crosses an international border.
A number of Democrats support the pipeline, including Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who faces a fight for another term in a state heavily dependent on the oil industry.
“Today’s decision by the administration amounts to nothing short of an indefinite delay of the Keystone pipeline,” she said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the pipeline will bring jobs. Oil industry executives agreed.
“It’s a sad day for America’s workers when politics trumps job-creating policy at the White House,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute.
But the League of Conservation Voters called the announcement "great news."
[Los Angeles Times]