Faced with dimming prospects for approval, the Canadian company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline chose to plead with the U.S. government for a delay on its fate, signaling that prolonged uncertainty is preferable to rejection of the $8 billion project.
Monday’s appeal by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp has been widely interpreted as an attempt to avert an impending “no” from President Barack Obama to the nearly 1,200-mile (2,000-km) cross-border pipeline. Keystone XL would carry heavy crude oil from Alberta to Nebraska and on to Gulf Coast refineries, and has become the symbolic heart of a struggle between environmentalists opposed to oil sands development and defenders of fossil fuels.
The U.S. State Department said it had received a letter from TransCanada asking for the delay but a spokesperson said the review would continue for now.
TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said the company would not speculate on what the decision may be or when it may come.