The Obama administration will make its final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by early summer, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The proposed pipeline, which would run from the Canadian oil sands to refineries in Texas, has been under consideration for years, but a final decision on it has been delayed several times due to requests for additional evaluations of the project's environmental impact.
The State Department's inspector general is looking into allegations that there was a conflict of interest with the company that prepared the project's latest draft environmental analysis. That report is expected to be released by the end of January. The State Department has the authority to approve the project because it crosses an international border.
The Journal reports that sources familiar with the decision said that the final environmental impact analysis is expected to be released next month. After that, the State Department will make a decision about whether the pipeline is in the national interest, and other agencies will have 90 days to comment on the verdict. That would put President Barack Obama in a position to make a final decision by May or June.
Click over to the Wall Street Journal to read more about what insiders expect the final analysis to say.
The State Department and the White House have not offered an official timeline for the decision.
President Obama has said that the pipeline should be approved only if it is determined that it does not have a major impact on total carbon emissions. "Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest," the president said in his big climate speech last June. "And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."