(Washington, DC) - President Barack Obama announced he would reject TransCanada's application for a permit to construct the 1700 Mile Keystone XL Pipeline, accepting a recommendation from the U.S. State Department.
The U.S. State Department issued a news release saying it was recommending denial of the permit at this time.
STATE DEPARTMENT RELEASE:
Today, the 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 not to serve the national interest. The President concurred with the Department's recommendation, which was predicated on the fact that the Department does not have sufficient time to obtain the information necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national interest.
Since 2008, the Department has been conducting a transparent, thorough, and rigorous review of TransCanada's permit application for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. As a result of this process, particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, on November 10, 2011, the Department announced that it could not make a national interest determination regarding the permit application without additional information. Specifically, the Department called for an assessment of alternative pipeline routes that avoided the uniquely sensitive terrain of the Sand Hills in Nebraska. The Department estimated, based on prior projects of similar length and scope, that it could complete the necessary review to make a decision by the first quarter of 2013. In consultations with the State of Nebraska and TransCanada, they agreed with the estimated timeline.
On December 23, 2011, the Congress passed the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 ("the Act"). The Act provides 60 days for the President to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest - which is insufficient for such a determination.
The Department's denial of the permit application does not preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for similar projects.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued a statement even before the official announcement from the White House.
FALLIIN NEWS RELEASE
Governor Fallin today released the following statement following media reports that President Obama's administration will reject TransCanada's application to build the Keystone XL pipeline:
"If the reports are true that President Obama will reject the application for the Keystone XL pipeline, it's a sad day for those of us who care about American energy independence and job creation.
"Independent reports show Oklahoma anticipates a $1.2 billion economic investment in the state. Nationally, 20,000 construction jobs and as many as 250,000 jobs are expected to be created.
"The decision by the president to block construction of this pipeline is more evidence this administration is beholden to radical environmentalists and does not care about real job creation or the plight of tens of millions of unemployed Americans. I am outraged by President Obama's obstructionism, poor judgment and lack of regard for a project that would help secure America's energy independence, boost our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs."
TransCanada has not released a formal statement yet.
More news as the story develops.