TransCanada requested an expedited review of a new application to build the northern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, but the State Department projects that a decision will not be made until 2013.
Citing the three years of environmental review already conducted, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling called for the "cross border permit to be processed expeditiously and a decision made once a new route in Nebraska is determined." The pipeline would run from the Canadian border to Steele City, Neb., where it would link up with an already-existing pipeline.
TransCanada has pursued a piecemeal strategy of building the pipeline since President Obama rejected the application in February. The southern portion of Keystone, set to run from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf of Mexico, was approved in March.
The State Department has indicated that it would not expedite review. "If TransCanada comes in with a new application, it will trigger a new review process, a completely new review process," Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones told reporters in January.
The new application requires "a rigorous, transparent and thorough review," the State Department said today. "Nebraska has stated that their own review of the new route will take six to nine months. Previously when we announced review of alternate routes through Nebraska this past fall, our best estimate on when we would complete the national interest determination was the first quarter of 2013."
President Obama previously decided not to approve Keystone until at least 2013 in order "to calm the environmentalist movement that has mobilized against the proposal — no small matter for Obama given activists' threats that they might abandon his reelection campaign," according to the Los Angeles Times.
TransCanada says that the Keystone XL project "would create 20,000 jobs: 13,000 in construction, 7,000 in manufacturing."