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The Obama administration announced today they will reject the permit on the controversial 1,700-mile oil sands pipeline project, Keystone XL, because the US Congress forced an immediate decision before the proposed route revision through Nebraska could be studied. Transcanada will reapply, shifting the final decision until after the fall election, just as President Obama planned.

As the State Department put it:

“he Department of State recommended to President Obama that the presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline be denied and that at this time the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline be determined to not serve the national interest. The President agreed with the Department’s recommendation. This recommendation was predicated on the fact that the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act that was passed in December does not provide sufficient time to obtain the information that we think is necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national interest….”

When Transcanada reapplies, how much of the review process will have to be repeated? The State Department said, not all of it, but they wouldn’t commit themselves:

“if TransCanada comes in with a new application, it will trigger a new review process, a completely new review process. We cannot state that anything would be expedited …. It would just have to go through all of the requirements that are needed for this kind of application review….

However, I could mention that we do have guidelines that would allow us to use information …. from the process we’ve been through, but we would also have to look at this as a completely new application, and that’s how it would be treated….The body of information that was out there would inform a new application, but there are certain specific guidelines that have to be used. And beyond that, I can’t comment, because it would be a completely new application and a new review process…

For reference, the Canadian decision approving Keystone XL pipeline is found here.

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