Laura Barron-Lopez at the Hill reports that sources say that the State Department will extend the review period for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would potentially push the decision back until after the midterm elections:
The administration is stopping the clock on the review of the project, one source said, while they await the outcome of litigation in Nebraska related to a portion of the pipeline.
A Nebraska judge struck down the pipeline’s route through the state in February, and said the state’s public service commission must evaluate and approve Keystone’s route.
The Obama administration is currently conducting its final interagency review of the $5.4 billion oil-sands pipeline, which is expected to wrap up by early May. Earlier this year, the administration released its final environmental impact analysis on the project, clearing the way for determining whether it is in the national interest.
Countdown to Sen. Mark Pryor grabbing the opportunity to put distance between himself and the president on this? Pryor recently joined ten other Senate Democrats in sending a letter to President Obama pushing him to approve the pipeline, asking for a decision by the end of May.
For good background on the risks and questionable need of the pipeline, head on over to InsideClimate News, who partnered with the Times on our coverage of the Mayflower oil spill.
Sounds like Barron-Lopez will be updating the developing story on Keystone here.
UPDATE: Sen. Mary Landrieu has already called the delay “irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable.” Can Pryor be far behind?