The Obama Administration is again delaying a decision on approving the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, likely putting off any action until after the November midterm elections.
The State Department said Friday it would give federal agencies more time to comment on the project. The postponement is needed because a Nebraska judge in February struck down a law allowing the governor of that state to approve the pipeline’s route and bypass the Nebraska Public Service Commission, according to the State Department.
“Agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state,” the State Department said in a brief statement Friday afternoon.
Congressional Republicans attacked the decision, saying Obama is delaying jobs in favor of political gain.
“It is crystal clear that the Obama administration is simply not serious about American energy and American jobs,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.
Keystone would bring crude oil from the Canadian oil sands to American refineries on the Gulf Coast. Plans for the pipelines are so controversial because tapping the thick Alberta crude would result in more planet-warming gases than would conventional sources of oil.
Environmental groups on Friday applauded the delay.
“The State Department is taking the most prudent course of action possible. It is already clear that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline fails the climate test and will damage our climate, our lands and our waters,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the International Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council: