How Convenient: State Dept Projects No Decision on New Keystone Application 'Til 2013

Erika Johnsen

5/4/2012 2:36:00 PM - Erika Johnsen

After the convoluted, highly politicized, piecemeal rejection TransCanada received on their Keystone XL pipeline proposal the first time around, the Obama administration assured the company that they were invited to reapply with an alternate route, one that would pose fewer ostensible environmental concerns, whenever they wished. But, given that this was always about punting a decision on a delicate poster-child issue that would anger the green lobby until after November's election, TransCanada could've taken their sweet time with their new proposal (but, you know, private-sector companies working for a profit actually like to get things done in a timely, efficient manner, so...):

As expected, TransCanada reapplied Friday for a presidential permit for its Keystone XL pipeline.

The company’s application covers the stretch of the proposed pipeline from the U.S.-Canadian border in Montana to Steele City, Neb. TransCanada will supplement the application once an alternative route is selected within Nebraska.

"Our application for a presidential permit builds on more than three years of environmental review already conducted for Keystone XL," TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling said in a press release. "It was the most comprehensive process ever for a cross-border pipeline and that work should allow our cross-border permit to be processed expeditiously and a decision made once a new route in Nebraska is determined."

Federal environmental reviews have concluded that the pipeline would have minimal impact.

But concern in Nebraska over the state’s environmentally sensitive Sandhills region and uproar by environmental activists in opposition to the entire pipeline has pushed back approval of a presidential permit until at least 2013.

Despite the fact that the State Department gave the original pipeline a favorable review as early as last August, they've already indicated that a brand-new application will trigger a brand-new review process -- 'cause "we can't wait" for jobs, but we most certainly can, and will, wait for President Obama to secure a second term.