WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Thursday that reviewing an alternate route for the proposed Keystone oil pipeline would take time and said that any effort to circumvent the approval process would be "counterproductive."
"There is a reason why this process has within it the duration required to properly review all the different aspects of a project like this, and to weigh all the different criteria," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Carney told a news briefing there has not been an alternate route mapped out for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline and that the state of Nebraska needs six to nine months to do its own environmental assessment. He did not say whether the late-February decision deadline imposed by payroll tax legislation would force the Obama administration to reject the permit.
(Reporting By Laura MacInnis and Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Sandra Maler)