Kerry Won’t Be Pinned Down on Keystone XL Timeline

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference with Britain's Foreign Minister William Hague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Kerry said Syria's President Bashar Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding a chemical weapons attack simply by turning over "every single bit" of his weapons stock to the international community within a week.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Jan. 17, 2014, 6:13 a.m.

Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry said he’s hope­ful his de­part­ment’s en­vir­on­ment­al re­view of the Key­stone XL pipeline will be done soon, but he offered Ca­na­dian of­fi­cials no timeline for a de­cision on the pro­ject.

Kerry — speak­ing a day after Canada’s for­eign min­is­ter called for end­ing Key­stone’s “state of limbo” — re­fused to be pinned down when asked Fri­day.

“I can prom­ise our friends in Canada that all the ap­pro­pri­ate ef­fort is be­ing put in­to try­ing to get this done ef­fect­ively and rap­idly,” Kerry said at a press brief­ing with his Ca­na­dian and Mex­ic­an coun­ter­parts.

“My hope is that be­fore long that ana­lys­is will be avail­able, and then my work be­gins,” he ad­ded. The “work” is a ref­er­ence to the so-called na­tion­al in­terest de­term­in­a­tion peri­od that will be­gin after State fin­ishes its en­vir­on­ment­al re­view.

The fi­nal en­vir­on­ment­al re­view will of­fer a huge hint about wheth­er the U.S. will sign off on Tran­sCanada Corp.’s pipeline, which Pres­id­ent Obama has said can pro­ceed only if it won’t sig­ni­fic­antly worsen car­bon emis­sions.

A draft of the study last March found that ap­prov­ing or re­ject­ing Key­stone would have little ef­fect on the rate of ex­pan­sion of car­bon-in­tens­ive oil-sands de­vel­op­ment. If that find­ing doesn’t change in the fi­nal ver­sion, it will be a strong sign that the pro­ject is head­ing for ap­prov­al.

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