President Obama recently stated that he will make the decision on whether to approve or deny a presidential permit for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline proposed by TransCanada, rather than delegating the decision to the State Department.
The pipeline, which is expected to create thousands of jobs for Americans, has become a major political issue for the Obama administration. The President stated he would weigh the potential economic benefits of the Keystone XL against any possible environmental consequences. The fourth Environmental Impact Study order by the president will probably take 12 – 18 months to complete, letting delay the politically-charged decision until after the November presidential election.
In a related development, on Nov. 14, 2011, TransCanada announced it supported legislation within the state of Nebraska to move the Keystone XL pipeline project forward. TransCanada confirmed to state leaders that the route for Keystone XL will be changed and reaffirmed that Nebraskans will play an important role in determining the final route.