Environmentalists Happy as White House Delays Keystone Decision

It will likely wait until after the midterm elections
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2014 6:22 PM CDT
Environmentalists Happy as White House Delays Keystone Decision
This 2013 photo shows a sign reading "Stop the Transcanada Pipeline" in a field near Bradshaw, Neb.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

The White House was supposed to wrap up its review of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline in another two weeks. But in a surprise move today, the administration announced that the review would be extended indefinitely—and probably until after the November elections, reports the Wall Street Journal. The White House says the delay is necessary only because of a legal challenge still playing out in Nebraska, reports AP. But reaction to the move is pretty clear-cut: Supporters of the pipeline are angry and environmentalists are happy.

It's “good news on Good Friday for those who oppose Keystone as not being in our nation’s best interest," green activist Tom Steyer tells Politico. But that sentiment was countered by critics from both parties: "This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable," said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, while Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska called it a "stunning act of political cowardice." The pipeline would carry oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, but the legal fight in Nebraska—home of the Ogallala Aquifer—means its exact route is still unclear, reports the New York Times. The state Supreme Court isn't expected to rule on the case until the fall, and more legal wrangling would surely follow. (More TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline stories.)

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