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Keystone XL pipeline to be rejected by Obama administration
The State Department
on Wednesday will reject theKeystone XL pipeline, multiple sources following the
project told POLITICO.
The formal announcement is expected at 3 p.m. from Deputy
Secretary of State William Burns. Although the permit would be rejected,
TransCanada would still be allowed to continue to work on and pitch an
alternative route through Nebraska.
in Congress and on the campaign trail haveendlessly attackedPresident Barack Obama for puttingenvironmental interestsand the green lobby ahead of a project
that they say would create thousands of jobs. Republicans scored a rare win
this Congress by including a 60-day deadline for Obama to make a decision on
the pipeline as part of the year-end deal on extending the payroll tax holiday.
officials have been clear from the beginning that forcing a decision within 60
days would not yield enough time to make a final decision and that Republicans
were doing so merely to create a new set of political talking points.
The official deadline
for Obama to act is Feb. 21, but there was already speculation the announcement
would come before next Tuesday’sState of the Union address, which would be the president’s
biggest audience to defend his decision on the 1,700-mile pipeline.
“There’s a good
argument to be made to politically take it off the table earlier if the assumption
is that the decision is going to be no,” one House Democratic aide said. “You
take a contentious issue off the table before the State of the Union ... and you’re allowed the room for the president
to give his positive vision.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
said if Obama did break the news during his speech it would send a big
political signal. "I think it will be a clear sign that the president is
willing to take on the Republicans," she said. "That's sort of
setting the tone of how he's going to be proceeding forward."