The White House will not allow the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to be built as is: The State Department is expected to make the announcement official this afternoon, but it's spreading the word in the meantime via anonymous sources in the big news outlets, including the Washington Post, Politico, and the Los Angeles Times. The Obama administration will apparently let TransCanada apply again, probably within a matter of weeks, this time with an alternate route that avoids sensitive land in Nebraska.
Today's development isn't a big surprise, notes the LA Times: Congress mandated that the White House make a decision on the permit by Feb. 21 as part of the payroll-tax deal that passed late last year. The administration has said all along it would not have time to complete the necessary review process in that time. By making the announcement now, President Obama will get a chance to defend the move in his State of the Union speech next week, notes Politico. The pipeline would deliver oil from Canada to the Gulf. (Read more TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline stories.)