The Obama administration has decided to reject a requested permit to build the controversial, transnational Keystone KL Pipeline, a decision angering Republicans in Congress and allaying the concerns of environmental activists.
Multiple sources confirmed Wednesday to NBC News that the administration had decided to reject the request to build the massive oil pipeline, a project upheld by Republicans in Congress (along with some Democrats) as a potential boon to job creation.
Neither the White House or the State Department is confirmation that a decision has been made. The White House Press Secretary said the administration may have more information on the pipeline later today.
Reaction from Capitol Hill and environmental groups was swift and pointed.
A spokesman for House Speaker Boehner said the decision "is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs and sell American energy security to the Chinese. The president won't stand up to his political base even to create American jobs."
But the executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, said today's announcement represents a "strong clear-cut powerful victory for environmentalists."
The Obama administration has been struggling with the Keystone XL issue since November of last year, when the State Department announced it had placed its permit decision on hold until more environmental reviews could be completed.
The pipeline then became part of the fight at the of 2011 to extend the payroll tax holiday. As part of the deal to extend the expiring tax cut, the president agreed to make a decision on the KeystoneXL Pipeline within two months upon signing the law. Obama is also required to submit a letter to Congress within 15 days of making the formal decision explaining why the pipeline is not "in the national interest."
Sources on both sides of the issue were careful to note that TransCanada, the company applying for the permit to build the pipeline, is not barred by this decision from submitting a new application for a pipeline at a later date.