Keystone oil sands pipeline rejected, for now

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Obama administration rejected a bid to expand the controversial Keystone oil sands pipeline Wednesday, saying the deadline imposed by Congress did not leave sufficient time to conduct the necessary review.

“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said in a statement.

The pipeline may not be dead though. The State Department, which was tasked with issuing the permit, said the denial does not “preclude any subsequent applications.”

Shortly after the decision was rendered TransCanada (TRP), the company that wants to build the pipeline, said it would do just that.

“TransCanada remains fully committed to the construction of Keystone XL,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Plans are already underway on a number of fronts to largely maintain the construction schedule of the project.”

The 1700-mile long pipeline expansion, intended to carry crude oil from Canada’s oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has become a lightning rod in American politics.

Supporters, including the oil industry, some unions and many in the Republican party, say it’s a vital job creator that will lessen the country’s dependence on oil imported from volatile regions.

Opponents fear the pipeline may leak, and that it will lock the United States into a particularly dirty form of crude that might ultimately end up being exported anyway.

The two sides have been squaring off since this summer, with the project highlighting how both sides view larger issues of jobs, the economy, the environment and energy.

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