Keystone application: Keystone Pipeline Application

Published: November 3, 2015

Keystone application: Keystone Pipeline Application, TransCanada, the company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf Coast, has asked the U.S. State Department to pause its review of the project.

TransCanada said Monday it had sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that the State Department suspend its review of the pipeline application. The pipeline company said such a suspension would be appropriate while it works with Nebraska authorities for approval of its preferred route through the state that is facing legal challenges in state courts.

The move comes as the Obama administration was widely expected to reject the pipeline permit application.

“We have just received TransCanada’s letter to Secretary Kerry and are reviewing it. In the meantime, consideration under the Executive Order continues,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.

The White House declined to comment, referring all questions to the State Department.

The State Department review is mandated as part of the application process because the pipeline crosses an international border. The State Department does not have to grant TransCanada’s request for a pause in the review process and instead can continue the review process.

Ahead of TransCanada’s announcement Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama intended to make a decision on the pipeline before his presidency ends in January 2017, although he declined to elaborate on the timeline. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her main challengers for the Democratic nomination are already on record as opposing it. All of the leading Republican presidential candidates support the pipeline.

Some pipeline opponents contend that TransCanada hopes to delay the review process in hopes that a more sympathetic Republican administration will move into the White House in 2017.

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