U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today released the following statement after the U.S. State Department announced that it is pushing back the time period for federal agencies to provide comments on the Keystone XL pipeline.
The initial 90 comment period which was supposed to end in early May, will now go on for an undetermined time frame.
"Once again, we're hearing more delays and more uncertainty over the Keystone XL pipeline," said Heitkamp. "It's absolutely ridiculous that this well over five year long process is continuing for an undetermined amount of time. This most recent delay leaves everyone waiting in limbo -- federal agencies, construction and energy workers and companies, state officials, and Canada. It hurts all of us when no decisions are made. I'll keep pressing the Administration for a clear timeframe for the pipeline, as I did just last week with 10 other Democratic Senators. But because of this latest delay tactic by the Administration, I'll continue to seriously consider other available options for approval."
The State Department said it needs to have a better understanding of what the pipeline route might be, which it says will likely come after more clarity is provided on the situation in Nebraska. In February, a Nebraska judged ruled against allowing the pipeline to go through the state.
In February, the State Department's Inspector General cleared the State Department and Environmental Resources Management (ERM) from any conflict of interest in evaluating the Keystone XL pipeline. In January, ERM and the State Department completed the final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline.