The State Department announced on Friday afternoon that it will extend the review period on the proposed northern route of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, citing “on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state.”
“The agency consultation process is not starting over. The process is ongoing, and the Department and relevant agencies are actively continuing their work in assessing the Permit application,” the State Department stated in the release, adding that it “will give the agencies sufficient time to submit their views.”
The State Department and other federal agencies are determining whether the TransCananda-backed Keystone XL pipeline is in the United States’ “national interest.” The new northern route, proposed after President Barack Obama rejected the original track, was submitted in September 2012.
The State Department didn’t give any indication of how long agencies need to assess Keystone XL, which has already been extensively studied. State recently concluded that pipeline would have little impact on the environment, also noting that alternatives would result in higher carbon emissions.
Some observers have already surmised that a decision on the pipeline may not come until after the 2014 mid-term election.