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Obama Administration Delays Keystone XL Pipeline Decision

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Photo of President Obama speaking in Cushing in March of 2012. Photo of President Obama speaking in Cushing in March of 2012.

Republicans are denouncing the latest delay in the review process for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada -- a process that has dragged on now for more than five years.

The Obama administration today extended indefinitely the amount of time federal agencies have to review the project. That means a decision might not come until after the November elections.

House Speaker John Boehner calls the decision "shameful," and says there are no credible reasons for further delay. He says the project has "cleared every environmental hurdle and overwhelmingly passed the test of public opinion."

3/22/2014: Related Story: In Cushing, Obama Says He Wants Fed To Cut Red Tape, Expedite Pipeline

Democrats from energy-dependent states are joining in the criticism. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu says President Barack Obama is signaling that a small minority of opponents can tie up the process forever in the courts.

But environmental groups fighting the pipeline are hailing the delay, arguing that it shows the State Department is taking seriously the arguments against the pipeline. An official with the League of Conservation Voters says it's "definitely great news."

Because the pipeline would cross the US-Canada border, the State Department has jurisdiction. But Obama is widely expected to make the final call. And he has said the pipeline will be considered to be not in the U.S. interest if it contributes significantly to increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

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