Stalling Keystone due to overseas complaints?

“Controversial” is the term so often associated with the Keystone XL Pipeline project, but with American support growing ever stronger over the past five and a half years, during which time the project has been under review (polls show Americans favor the project by a margin of nearly 3:1), one may naturally wonder: where’s the controversy?

TransCanada Corp., the company pressuring the Obama Administration’s stubborn State Department for a Presidential Permit to start construction on the Keystone project, said in its most recent delay, the State Dept. claims it “needs more time to review all of the public comments that have been received,” although, “we also know that about 900,000 of the comments the State Department has received came from overseas, and as such, should have no bearing on a decision regarding our Presidential Permit.”

“Likewise,” TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard wrote in an email to Human Events, “many of the remaining comments have been organized by both supporters and opponents of the pipeline, and can be easily categorized and analyzed.”

Howard explained that “the State Department indicated that it was waiting to see the outcome of a lawsuit in Nebraska as well.”

“On the Nebraska lawsuit,” said Howard, “this is a dispute between some landowners and the State. TransCanada is not a party to that lawsuit and it???s clear that this is a question about process and not the route that Governor Heineman has approved (and is supported by an overwhelming majority of Nebraskans). The State Department could approve our Presidential Permit, conditional on the outcome of the legal process that is currently underway.”

So what’s the timeline for all of this?

“There???s nothing that I can share at this point in terms of an updated timeline on a decision regarding our Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL,” Howard said. “This is [the State Department’s] process and we have followed every state and federal process as we have gone through the reviews for Keystone XL and will continue to do so.”

TransCanda has expressed its frustration with the continued delays, as the State Dept. extended the government comment period to delay a decision on the project until after the November elections.

“It is unfortunate that interest groups and paid activists are blocking energy security, saying no to jobs, and creating a situation that actually leads to higher GHG’s (greenhouse gases) and greater public risk,” TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling told the Washington Post.

“Keystone XL is the most exhaustively studied cross-border pipeline in history,” said Howard. “This latest delay hurts the workers we want to employ. It hurts the businesses that provide us with goods and services to support a project of this scope. It hurts our customers who are being forced to keep buying eight to nine million barrels of oil every day from parts of the world that are openly hostile to U.S. interests. And it does absolutely nothing to improve the environment or the safety of moving products like this to the market.”

Howard concluded, “The case for Keystone XL is as strong today as when we first proposed it, which is why a solid majority of Americans continue to support the construction of this modern, advanced, safe pipeline to move Canadian and American oil to U.S. refineries.”

Teresa Mull is the managing editor of Human Events.