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Keystone XL Pipeline News & Facts: President Barack Obama Postpones Final Decision

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First Posted: Apr 19, 2014 09:35 AM EDT
Keystone XL Protest
Activists carry signs and petition boxes as they march to the State Department for a rally to protest against the Keystone XL pipeline March 7, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Activists from various environmental groups delivered "more than 2 million comments to urge Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama to reject the project." (Photo : Getty Images/Alex Wong)

President Barack Obama and his administration have decided to postpone the decision on the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline until after the congressional midterm elections in November.

According to State Department officials, the decision is also delayed to allow litigation to unfold in a Nebraska state court, which invalidated part of the pipeline's route in February, the Los Angeles Times reported. The state department's recent statement said it wouldn't review the pipeline's impact until the "uncertainty created by the ongoing litigation" is resolved despite officials' previous statement the Nebraska case wouldn't affect their ongoing discussions. The Nebraska case is expected to continue until late this year, as it is being brought to the Supreme Court because state officials appealed the ruling.

If approved, the 1,700-mile pipeline would carry an estimated 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast per day, according to the Washington Post. The Keystone XL has been the center of debate on environment regulations that has gone on for more than five years while drawing a considerable amount of both supporters and opposition.

Environmentalist groups argue that the pipeline would perpetuate the effects of global warming and climate change during a time when scientists and the U.N. are urging governments to move away from oil and coal use.

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On the other hand, the pipeline's supporters insist that it will save the U.S. a considerable amount of money, making the nation less dependant on oil from the Middle East, Africa and other unstable areas in the world. They also say that Canada will develop its tar pits regardless of the White House's decision, according to the L.A. Times.

The decision comes down to Secretary of State John Kerry, but if there are any disagreements between the departments involved in the review, President Obama will have final say, New York Times reports. In the past, the president has said he would only give the project a green light if there is proof that emissions and greenhouse gases do not increase.

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