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State Dept. delays Keystone XL decision

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As some observers predicted earlier this week, the Obama administration has decided to delay a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election.

The Hill reports:

The Obama administration will announce Thursday that it is reevaluating the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a move that will likely delay a final decision on the project until after the 2012 election, sources briefed by the administration said…

Sources briefed by the administration said the decision to consider a new pipeline route would likely delay a final decision on the pipeline until after the election. The administration initially planned to make a decision on the project by the end of the year, but the State Department recently acknowledged that the timeline could slip.

Environmentalists who are opposed to the project are praising the decision and hoping that it kills the project entirely. Bill McKibben, who organized the massive protests around the White House over the last few weeks, said in a press release:

A done deal has come spectacularly undone. The American people spoke loudly and today the President responded, at least in part. Six months ago, almost no one outside the pipeline route even knew about Keystone XL. One month ago, a secret poll of “energy insiders” by the National Journal found that “virtually all” expected easy approval of the pipeline by year’s end. As late as last week the CBC reported that TransCanada was moving huge quantities of pipe across the border and seizing land by eminent domain, certain that its permit would be granted … We take courage from today’s announcement. It’s an unspoken salute to the power of people who come together in the open to demand action; it gives us some clues about how to fight going forward.”

But he also warned the Obama administration that the ultimate goal of the project’s opponents remains the same, saying, “The president should know that nothing that happened today changes our position–we’re unequivocal in our opposition. If this pipeline proposal reemerges from the review process intact we will use every form of nonviolent civil disobedience to keep it from ever being built.”

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