Update (3:25 p.m. EST): The State Department has officially rejected the Keystone pipeline. Breaking News's Michael Van Poppel posted its full statement on Pastebin, but the gist is that the State Department thought it didn't have enough time to thoroughly study the proposed pipeline thanks to a 60-day deadline included in the Dec. 23 payroll tax bill. The deadline was "insufficient for such a determination," the department wrote. The white House concurred, sending out a statement from President Barack Obama:
As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment. As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department's report, I agree.
But the State department did say Keystone's operators could reapply for a permit to build the pipeline.
Update (12:36 p.m. EST): CNN cites a White House source confirming the planned rejection, while Bloomberg has it that "The rejection will probably come from the State Department." Both represent the Obama administration, which has gone back and forth on the pipeline issue. Proponents, including unions and many Republicans, say the pipeline will create jobs. But environmentalists argue that the pipeline would endanger sensitive wetlands as it carried 700,000 barrels of oil per day along its current proposed route through Nebraska. Bloomberg's also reporting that "The administration will let TransCanada submit a new application for an alternate pipeline route," citing "a person familiar with the administration’s plans." The administration had previously delayed a decision on the pipeline to after the 2012 election, so Wednesday's announcement actually moves the schedule up a bit.
Update (11:58 a.m. EST): The Hill is reporting that it's confirmed with State Department sources that the U.S. will reject the proposed pipeline, and a formal announcement is planned for 3 p.m. "It remains unclear if the expected announcement will be an up-or-down verdict on the project or a procedural step that leaves an ultimate decision for a later date," it reported. But Business Insider is reporting that "Transcanada will however be allowed to reapply with an alternate route going through Nebraska."
Fox News's Ed Henry just tweeted that the U.S. State Department plans to announce it won't approve the controversial Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.
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