Keystone XL Pipeline decision

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Excerpted from Embassy ‘Keystone XL pipeline: Politics or process?Bruise on Canada-US relations, but won’t leave scare’ November 16

The United States government’s move to delay a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 presidential elections has some observers saying that “politics prevailed” and that such a move could have a negative impact on Canada-US relations.

Others, though, say the decision was an example of the regulatory process at work.

TransCanada Corp. had proposed a $7-billion pipeline that would take crude oil from Hardisty, Alta. southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, on its way to the Texas Gulf coast.

But the US State Department announced Nov. 10 that it needed to get more information on possible other routes. The State Department said the decision, which was expected by the end of this year, would likely be pushed back to early 2013.

Nebraskans had voiced concerns about the pipeline’s proposed route going over environmentally sensitive areas such as the Sand Hills region and the Ogallala aquifer.

Reports emerged this week that Nebraska and TransCanada agreed to find an alternative route for the pipeline, which TransCanada said could shorten the approval timeline. It was also said that Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman asked the US government to speed up the process. The State Department, however, appeared to stick firm to the 2013 timeline, according to CBC News.

Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat and now a senior strategic adviser for McKenna, Long and Aldridge LLP, which has done work for TransCanada, said the State Department’s move has little to do with Canada and everything to do with US President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects.

Others also share this sentiment….