In an unexpected turn of events, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline proposal requested to temporarily suspend its US permit application on Monday.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation asked that State Department, which reviews cross-border pipelines, delay its decision while the company goes through a state review process in Nebraska. Earlier in the week, the White House indicated its intention to rule on the controversy-ridden pipeline by the end of Obama’s term; some were expecting the State Department decision to reject the pipeline as soon as the end of the week.
“We are asking State (Department) to pause its review of Keystone XL based on the fact that we have applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission for approval of its preferred route in the state,” TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling said in a statement.
But some are speculating that the request is a political play: A delay in the permit could mean pushing the issue beyond the 2016 election—and into the hands of a new administration.
They think Obama is about to reject it so they want to see if GOP wins WH. Then they can reinstate application. https://t.co/qLQW2FsQH6
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) November 3, 2015
Is this the real reason TransCanada wants to suspend its application for Keystone Pipeline? https://t.co/kDx0dw1V54 pic.twitter.com/WF7z7qJ72b
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 3, 2015
TransCanada has vowed over the years that it would not back down on the proposed pipeline from Alberta to Texas in the face of economic or political challenges, and until recently, it had been pushing for a speedy border permit approval.
?This post has been updated.