WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) — Despite a proposal that would force the White House to make a quick decision, the State Department said any move on the Keystone XL pipeline would come in 2013.
A group of 35 Republican lawmakers proposed a measure that would force the White House to issue a construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada within 60 days.
“Building the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline now is a dramatic opportunity to change the energy and national security equation,” U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., said in a statement. “At the same time, we have a dramatic opportunity to create American jobs now.”
The American Petroleum Institute took a jab at U.S. President Barack Obama’s so-called We Can’t Wait campaign by saying delaying the shovel-ready Keystone XL pipeline was part of a political ploy to appeal to the environmental base.
Keystone XL would move oil from tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the southern U.S. coast.
Nebraska lawmakers pointed out that the planned $7 billion pipeline would pass over an aquifer that supplies drinking water to much of the region.
The State Department, which needs to approve Keystone XL because it would cross the U.S.-Canadian border, said it was reviewing route options in Nebraska. This means a decision is unlikely until after the November 2012 U.S. presidential elections.
The State Department issued a statement saying it was committed to a transparent review process.
“Based on past experience and possible total mileage of alternative routes that would need to be reviewed, we anticipate the evaluation could conclude as early as the first quarter of 2013,” the statement read.