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TransCanada Pushes Pause on Keystone XL Application in US

The company made the request of Secretary of State John Kerry on the same day the White House reiterated President Obama would make a decision on the controversial pipeline before leaving office.

by Hilary Beaumont
Nov 3 2015, 1:10am

Image via Flickr Creative Commons

Facing a potential nail in Keystone XL's coffin, TransCanada is hitting pause in its push for the controversial pipeline project.

On Monday, the same day the White House reiterated President Barack Obama would make a decision on the controversial $8-billion pipeline proposal before leaving office, TransCanada sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to pause the company's presidential permit application.

"TransCanada believes that it would be appropriate at this time for the State Department to pause in its review of the Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL," Kristine Delkus, TransCanada's executive vice president of stakeholder relations and general counsel, wrote in a letter dated November 2.

Last year, when Nebraska landowners challenged the constitutionality of Keystone XL's proposed route through the state, the company applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which TransCanada says will take seven months to a year to decide on the matter.

"We would note that when the status of the route in Nebraska was challenged last year, the Department found it appropriate to suspend its review pending resolution of that challenge," Delkus wrote. "We submit that, in the current circumstances, a similar suspension of the review process would be appropriate."

In a press release, TransCanada says they believe "there is sound precedent for making this request."

Related: Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation — But White House Says Approval Still Possible

The White House said Monday Obama was expected to make a decision on the project before leaving office, but TransCanada has not commented on whether the timing of their request had anything to do with that statement.

On September 23, US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said she was against the divisive pipeline project, calling it "a distraction from the important work we have to do on climate change." Meanwhile, incoming Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has voiced support for the project, calling it "an important energy infrastructure" for both Canada and the US.

If completed, the 1,179-mile Keystone XL pipeline would pump oil from Canada and the US Bakken region to refineries along the US Gulf Coast. TransCanada has said the project would create 40,000 jobs.

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Image via Flickr user tarsandsaction