The Times' Politics Nowblog reports that the Obama administration has rejected a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project. The decision was due by Feb. 21, under provisions voted in by Congress as part of the payroll tax cut extension in December, but the president and his appointees are expected to announce a decision as early as Wednesday.
This does not mean, however, that the project is dead. The pipeline's parent company TransCanada will need to propose an alternative route to avoid putting the pipe over a large aquifer in Nebraska, and then it can resubmit its permits. Because the pipeline crosses the border with Canada, permitting is overseen by the U.S. State Department, which is why the president is involved.
Oil industry advocates have touted the project as costing $7 billion and creating 20,000 jobs, but government agencies and independent analysts have said these numbers are inflated.
The fight goes back to the companies involved, and back to Congress.