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
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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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