Rolling Stone: Obama largely has decided to reject Keystone XL

HOUSTON — A new Rolling Stone magazine report says President Barack Obama has all but decided to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, citing two high-level Obama administration sources.

In the story published on Wednesday afternoon, reporter Jeff Goodell says Obama’s decision will be driven by his desire to lead a sea change in climate change politics. Goodell did not name the two administration officials who were his sources.

TransCanada Corp. first applied for a permit to build Keystone XL five years ago, but the project has been mired by bureaucracy and political dispute. Keystone XL would link Canada’s oil sands, an energy source highly criticized by environmentalists, to the United States’ crude hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.

Rolling Stone’s assertion mirrors a prediction by former White House adviser Carol Browner, who in October said that the president will deny the pipeline’s permit. But she added that “there will be some more twists and turns before we get there.”

In a landmark speech in June, Obama said his decision on Keystone XL would hinge on the project’s carbon footprint. Seven months later, the State Department released a report saying that the carbon emissions from Canada’s oil sands are unlikely to increase if Keystone XL is built.

Still, last week, Obama further delayed action on Keystone XL, pushing back the deadline for federal agencies to deliver their comments on the pipeline, effectively moving his final decision to after the November midterm elections. The Rolling Stone story was reported before the delay and acknowledges a final decision has yet to be made.

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