The White House reportedly announced on November 10, 2011, that the Keystone XL pipeline project review would be delayed until an alternative path through Nebraska is found. The proposed 1,700-mile pipeline would run from Alberta, Canada, to Texas and transmit crude oil gleaned from oil sands in Canada. It has been under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review by the State Department for the past three years. Nebraska has objected to the proposed route because it would go through the state’s Sandhills region, which provides habitat for wildlife and is above the Ogallala Aquifer, a critical drinking and irrigation water source.

Separately, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG) has agreed to investigate whether the department has violated any laws in its review of TransCanada Corp.’s permit request to build the pipeline. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 13 other members of Congress requested an IG investigation to determine whether the pipeline permit process complied with state and federal laws. See BNA Daily Environment Report, November 8, 2011; New York Times and Washington Post, November 11, 2011.