U.S. President Barack Obama told governors at a White House meeting on Monday he expects a decision on whether to allow the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from Canada in the next couple of months, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin told reporters.
Fallin, a Republican who strongly supports the pipeline, said she asked Obama whether he would use his executive powers to approve the pipeline, which has been under government review since 2008.
"He did come back and say that he anticipates an answer one way or the other in a couple months," Fallin said after the governors met with Obama.
Opponents of the project say TransCanada Corp's pipeline would exacerbate climate change by supporting carbon-intensive development of Canada's oil sands crude. Supporters in Congress and the energy industry say Keystone would improve U.S. energy security and create thousands of construction jobs.
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The State Department is gathering comments from other government agencies and the public on the $5.4 billion project. The agencies have until the end of April to comment on whether the pipeline is in the national interest.
Then Secretary of State John Kerry will make a recommendation to Obama on whether the project is in the national interest. Obama has indicated he will make the ultimate decision.
The White House had not said how long the review will take.
Also on Monday, TransCanada said it was confident that legal complications in one of the states Keystone would run through will soon be resolved.
A Nebraska court ruled last week that a law that let Governor Dave Heineman allow the Keystone XL project to pass through his state was invalid.
The state's attorney general appealed the decision on behalf of Heineman immediately after the court ruled.
TransCanada said it has been advised by Nebraska that the appeal puts a hold on the lower court's ruling until a final judgment by a higher court.
Company spokesman James Millar said TransCanada believes the route approved by Heineman remains valid during the appeal.
"We have dealt with many issues related to this project in the past and are confident we can overcome this latest hurdle," Millar said in a statement.
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