Major media outlets are reporting that members of the Obama administration are poised to announce that the State Department will reject TransCanada’s application for a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline.
However, sources say that the administration will allow TransCanada to reapply after it develops an alternate route through the sensitive habitat of Nebraska’s Sandhills. Some say it will only take TransCanada a few weeks to draft the alternative plan.
“Assuming that what we’re hearing is true, this isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call,” said Bill McKibben, 350.org founder and Keystone XL protest leader in a statement. “The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money.
“We’re well aware that the fossil fuel lobby won’t give up easily. They have control of Congress. But as the year goes on, we’ll try to break some of that hammerlock, both so that environmental review can go forward, and so that we can stop wasting taxpayer money on subsidies and handouts to the industry.”
Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will make the announcement later this afternoon, in response to a congressionally-mandated deadline of Feb. 21 for action. Watch this page for updates when the official announcement is made.
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