Obama is out of excuses

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has approved a new route through his state for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. More than half the Senate, including 44 Republicans and 9 Democrats, urged President Barack Obama to quickly approve the project, which he has twice delayed.

But hold on: The State Department said this week it does not expect a review of the project to be completed before the end of March, and any discussion of approving the project would wait until then.

That’s unacceptable.

The State Department delayed the project in late 2011 over concerns that the route through Nebraska was too close to environmentally sensitive areas, including a massive aquifer. Obama blocked the project again in January 2012, citing more concerns over the project’s route through Nebraska.

That issue has been solved. The 53 senators, including North Dakota’s John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, are urging Obama to act approve the project. The pipeline would carry up to 800,000 barrels a day of oil from Canadian tar sands to refineries in Houston and other locations. The pipeline would not travel through North Dakota, but there has been discussion about adding a link to allow the state to send oil from the Bakken formation to refineries. The project would be good for the North Dakota oil industry.

All six states along the pipeline’s route Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas have approved the project. Environmental issues have been discussed, planned and dealt with since the project was first introduced in 2008.

Obama is out of excuses. It’s time to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.