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Obama plans to reject Keystone XL, N.D. senator says

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. John Hoeven said Wednesday he's been told by sources that President Barack Obama plans to reject the Keystone XL pipeline after Congress goes into recess in August.

John Hoeven
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Hoeven said Wednesday he’s been told by sources that President Barack Obama plans to reject the Keystone XL pipeline after Congress goes into recess in August.

Obama’s previous strategy had been to defeat the Keystone XL through endless delays, said Hoeven, R-N.D., but now a decision is anticipated before the end of his term.

“That changed here recently and the people we’ve been talking to indicate he’ll actually turn the project down in August after we go into recess,” Hoeven said in an interview with Forum News Service. “It’s an opportunity for him to do it more under the radar.”

Hoeven, who talked about the president’s anticipated veto on the Senate floor this week, said the issue has received a lot of reaction, particularly because the development comes at a time when Obama is proposing to lift sanctions on Iran.

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“So in essence he’s making it easier for Iran to produce more oil and he’s making it harder for us to produce oil here in the United States and harder for our allies in Canada,” Hoeven said. “It’s raised a very valid, broader issue of not just energy security but how the administration treats our allies and how it treats our opponents.”

A decision on whether to approve TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL has been delayed for more than six years. The proposed pipeline would connect Canada’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, with an on-ramp in Baker, Mont., to also transport Bakken crude. The pipeline requires federal approval because it crosses an international border.

Hoeven said if Obama vetoes the pipeline, he’d work to attach the Keystone XL to other energy legislation this fall.

The White House on Wednesday declined to provide an update on the review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, saying the U.S. State Department was handling that process, Reuters reported.

Also Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Bloomberg Television he was not hopeful that Obama would approve the northern leg of Keystone XL pipeline.

"A positive decision has not been rendered for a very long time and that's obviously not a hopeful sign," Harper said, referring to what he called "the very peculiar politics of this particular administration."

Harper also said if Obama does veto the project, he’s confident a future U.S. administration would grant approval.




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