Updated at 5:20 p.m. on November 3, 2015
In a move that further complicates an already protracted drama, TransCanada, the company behind the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, has formally asked the State Department to delay its review of the controversial project.
“In order to allow time for certainty regarding the Nebraska route, TransCanada requests that the State Department pause in its review of the presidential permit application for KeystoneXL,” the company’s president wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Invoking Nebraska, where landowners have long been haggling with the company over possible routes for the pipeline, is a piquant twist in the years-long political saga. As my colleague Russell Berman reported in January, after Nebraska’s Supreme Court threw out a legal challenge to the project, the pipeline’s Republican supporters urged President Obama to approve it without delay. “No more excuses for President Obama,” former House Speaker John Boehner tweeted at the time.
Several months later, the more likely rationale for the request is that the State Department appears poised to finally shoot down TransCanada’s bid.
“TransCanada’s move comes as the State Department was in the final stages of review, with a decision to reject the permit expected as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter,” reported Amy Harder at The Wall Street Journal.