Following a tumultuous election in which its chief advocate was ousted from public office, TransCanada Corp. has asked the Obama administration to pause its review of the presidential permit for the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline.
The permit is necessary because it would cross an international border. For more than seven years, former Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has lobbied the U.S. and its citizens on behalf of the pipeline. The $8 billion KXL was designed to bring Alberta’s heavy oil sands to the Gulf Coast for refining. A southern leg of the pipeline from Cushing, Okla., is already moving the heavy crude to refineries.
Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the company noted in the request to Secretary of State John Kerry that last year, when Nebraskan politicians objected to a route through their state, the State Department paused its review until that dispute was resolved.
“We feel under the current circumstances a similar suspension would be appropriate,” Girling said in the statement.
The Nebraska review could take up to 12 months to complete, which would put the presidential decision in the hands of a new U.S. president. However, the White House said in a statement on Nov. 2 – the same day TransCanada released the contents of the letter to Kerry – that President Barack Obama intended to make a decision on the KXL before leaving office.
While delays have turned into years that the KXL has languished, several other pipelines have come online to move the heavy crude south, raising some question as to the need for the controversial line.