APTN National News
OTTAWA-It has faced protests on both sides of the border, and now the U.S. State Department has ordered a review of the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline in a decision that could delay the project until after 2012 U.S. Presidential election.
TransCanada has been working to build the 2,735 kilometre pipeline to move Alberta tar sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico since 2008. Native American and First Nations groups, along with environmentalists, have been campaigning to stop the project.
Thousands have recently protested the pipeline at the White House and a sister protest on Parliament Hill ended with over 100 people arrested.
The U.S. State Department wants TransCanada to study re-routing the pipeline around environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska.
U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement backing the U.S. State Department’s decision.
“Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all potential impacts…properly understood,” said Obama in a statement.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in statement released to the media that he was “disappointed” with the decision.
“While we are disappointed with the delay, we remain hopefully the project will be decided on its merits and eventually approved,” Harper’s statement said.