Keystone XL Tar Sands Decision Reportedly Delayed (UPDATED)

from Wildlife Promise

Aerial shot of Alberta tar sands taken during NWF flyover

Reuters reports a decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be delayed by at least a year:

The Obama administration plans to announce on Thursday it will explore a new route for a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, delaying a final approval beyond the 2012 U.S. election, sources briefed on the matter said.

The decision would be a victory for environmentalists, many of whom oppose the pipeline, and a setback for TransCanada Corp, whose $7 billion Keystone XL project is seen as the most important North American oil pipeline plan for decades. [...]

If the administration explores a new route, “it’s a huge victory, and it would probably be the biggest environmental gift that President Barack Obama has given us,” said Tony Iallonardo, a spokesman at the National Wildlife Federation.

UPDATE 2:54pm: The State Department has just issued statement regarding the Keystone XL pipeline project review. It reads in part, “Particularly given the concentration of concerns regarding the environmental sensitivities of the current proposed route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, the Department has determinded it needs to undertake an in-depth assessment of potential alternative routes in Nebraska.”

It concludes, “Among the relevant issues that would be considered are environmental concerns (including climate change), energy security, economic impacts, and foreign policy.”

UPDATE 3:36pm: Dan Pfieffer, a White House spokesman, just tweeted reaction from President Barack Obama:

POTUS: I support the State Department’s announcement today regarding the need to seek additional information about the Keystone XL Pipeline.

UPDATE 4:34pm: Larry Schweiger, president & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, reacts to the delay for additional review:

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Learn more about the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline >>