US to Suspend Application Review
The Canadian company behind a proposed pipeline that will carry oil from Canada to the United States has asked the U.S. State Department to suspend its review of the controversial project.
TransCanada announced Monday that it had sent a letter to U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry to halt the review of Keystone XL due to an ongoing regulatory process in the midwestern state of Nebraska, the end point of the 1,900 kilometer pipeline. The company says it could take as long as a year before Nebraska authorities finish their review of the pipeline's route.
The $8 billion proposed pipeline has been under State Department review since TransCanada applied for permission in 2008. If Kerry agrees to TransCanada's request, it could delay a final decision until after President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017.
Keystone XL would transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil from the tar sands of Alberta across Montana and South Dakota to southern Nebraska, and from there connect to existing pipelines to carry the oil to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The project has put Obama in the political crosshairs between environmentalists who claim the project will worsen the impact of climate change and supporters who say it will bring needed jobs and boost the nation's energy independence.
A cross section of environmental activists issued a flood of statements accusing TransCanada of biding its time until after the 2016 presidential elections, in hopes a more supportive administration succeeds Obama in the White House.
"In defeat, TransCanada is asking for extra time from the referees, and clearly hoping they’ll get a new head official after the election," said Bill McKibben, founder of the online group 350.org. "It’s time for the current umpire, President Obama, to reject this project once and for all."
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday that the president intends to make a final decision on Keystone XL before he leaves office.
British Lawmakers Urge No Extension of Airstrikes Into Syria
A key committee in Britain's parliament issued a report Tuesday saying lawmakers will not support expanding airstrikes into Syria unless Prime Minister David Cameron's government answers a number of questions about the legal, political and military risks.
Britain has been a part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, but Cameron has failed to gain enough support to send forces to Syria on the same mission.
The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee highlighted the need to focus on finding a political solution to Syria's crisis and said British airstrikes could both hurt that effort and the country's standing in possible negotiations.
In 2013, British lawmakers rejected the government's proposal to launch airstrikes in Syria, and Tuesday's report recommends it not try again without answering a total of seven questions. Those include identifying what ground troops would seize and hold any territory captured from Islamic State militants.
Cameron said during a July interview with NBC's Meet The Press that Britain was committed to defeating the militants in both Iraq and Syria, but would not expand into Syria without the backing of parliament.