We could have a decision on Keystone by June

The wait is almost over

Topics: Keystone XL pipeline, Barack Obama, State DEpartment, TransCanada, oil industry, , ,

There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel — or the pipeline, if you will. President Obama will likely announce his decision about Keystone XL by early summer.

“People inside and outside the government familiar with the decision” told the Wall Street Journal that the State Department will be releasing its environmental impact report by mid-February. And that puts Obama on track to make the momentous decision by May or June — right in time for it to become a big talking point for the midterm campaign season.

It’s been a long, long wait, punctuated by protests, harsh critiques of President Obama’s commitment to climate issues and pressure from TransCanada, Canadian officials and pro-pipeline Democrats to just get on with it already. The State Department says the review’s been taking so long because it’s “highly technical and involved.” Once it’s finally released, another State Department review will begin, this one to determine whether the pipeline, which would run from the Canadian oil sands down to Texas refineries, is in the national interest.



But in the end, the WSJ reports, it’ll all come down to Obama:

One person familiar with the process at the State Department said the environmental-impact report will be crafted in a way that gives the president wide leeway to make a decision. Another official said the report is expected to be relatively vague, so Mr. Obama would be able to cite it to support a decision for or against the pipeline.

Lindsay Abrams

Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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