No Keystone XL pipeline this year, following new delay

The Keystone XL pipeline project appears paralyzed for another year, with the U.S. administration announcing another delay in a process already beset by political and legal challenges.

WASHINGTON — The Keystone XL pipeline project appears paralyzed for another year, with the U.S. administration announcing another delay in a process already beset by political and legal challenges.

The American administration shrugged off a demand from the Canadian government for an immediate decision on the controversial pipeline, so that construction could begin this summer.

The State Department announced Friday that eight federal agencies had been informed they will have more time to weigh in, given the uncertainty created by a court dispute in Nebraska.

Congressional staffers were informed, via conference call, about the delay caused by the Nebraska dispute. That court case is not expected to be resolved until the end of this year, at the earliest.

“Agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state,” said the announcement from the State Department.

There had been speculation about whether the Obama administration might try to punt the politically sensitive decision until after this year’s midterm elections.

While the project appears to have support from the general public, it has divided Barack Obama’s Democratic party — pitting big-money environmentalist donors against red-state conservative Democrats afraid of losing their congressional seats this fall.

In an attempt to push the process along, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spent several days in Washington recently pleading for a decision soon —arguing that it would be unfair to keep construction workers and the industry hanging as the building season approached.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper labelled the American decision as a political one.

“We are disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL,” Jason MacDonald said in an email Friday.

“This project will create tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, will enhance the energy security of North America, has strong public support, and the U.S. State Department has, on multiple occasions, acknowledged it will be environmentally sound,” he said.

The project was tossed into further disarray by a recent Nebraska court ruling that the state government there broke the law in its attempt to unilaterally dictate a route.

The case is being appealed to the state supreme court. Until then, even a presidential permit to allow the pipeline to cross the border would have slammed into uncertainty given the confusion over the route.

“President Obama… has said all along he wants to follow the process,” said Jane Kleeb, a Nebraska activist who has been fighting Keystone for years.

“The basic fact that Nebraska has no legal route is reason to delay any decision until our state can analyze a route using a process that follows our state constitution.”

She said the project’s problems could continue to grow.

She said the Nebraska high court isn’t expected to rule until next January, and if it upholds a lower-court decision the pipeline planners could be forced back to the drawing board.

Meanwhile, she said, South Dakota’s permit expires June 20 — also, which means pipeline-builder TransCanada Corp. will have to reapply for a permit in that state, as well.

The southern leg of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline is already completed, but the northern stretch that crosses the Canada-U.S. border requires a presidential permit.

With that process delayed, rail shipments of Alberta crude have skyrocketed, threatening a broader trickle-down effect throughout the transportation system.

Just Posted

Patrons practice on a putting green as the Whitestone Bridge looms in the distance at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx borough of New York on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Former President Donald Trump has a rich history of fighting back when he’s down and making others pay, and that’s exactly how he intends to deal with New York City over its plans to fire his company from running the city golf course. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dump Trump? Kicking him off NYC golf course may not be easy

Trump Organization has been reeling after the Capitol riots

A photo illustration made December 14, 2012 in Montreal shows a computer in chains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Irish health system says it’s targeted in ransomware attack

Health care systems have been a target before

A woman wearing a mask talks on her phone near an exhibition depicting a rover in Mars in Beijing on Friday, May 14, 2021. China says its Mars probe and accompanying rover are to land on the red planet sometime between early Saturday morning and Wednesday Beijing time. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
China Mars rover to land between Saturday and Wednesday

Only the United States has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee as Israeli artillery pounds northern Gaza

Israel called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

FILE- In this April 19, 2021, file photo, people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait to test for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hyderabad, India. Misinformation about the coronavirus is surging in India as the death toll from COVID-19 rises. Fueled by anguish, distrust and political polarization, the claims are further compounding India’s crisis. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A, File)
Misinformation surges amid India’s COVID-19 calamity

Distrust of Western vaccines and health care also driving misinformation

FILE - In this Friday March 6, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry visits the Silverstone Circuit, in Towcester, England. In an episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast broadcast Thursday, May 13, 2021, Prince Harry compared his royal experience to being on “The Truman Show” and “living in a zoo.” (Peter Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Prince Harry thought about quitting royal life in his 20s

Feared his family would have to deal with the same spotlight that was on his late mother

Opinion
Mental health: Gossiping, backbiting and forming factions is unhealthy

We all know of dysfunctional organizations, which can be as troublesome as… Continue reading

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer's first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital's medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Alberta physicians: Vaccines are our path forward

As the AMA representatives for Alberta’s family physicians, we were immensely relieved… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Most Read