They've been looking at this issue for 4 1/2 years. Now, an administration source is telling Reuters that it won't be until June until a final determination is made.
Jumpin' Jehosaphat what is taking so long?
A series of steps still have to be taken by the State Department, where the decision will be made because the 830,000 barrels per day crude oil pipeline crosses the national border. The pipeline will link Alberta's oil sands and North Dakota's Bakken shale fields to refineries and ports in Texas.
The State Department did not comment for this story, but last week a spokeswoman said it did not anticipate making the decision before the end of March. Previously, the department had hinted the decision could come in the middle of the first quarter.
The administration may be delaying because the pipeline has become a symbol for both opponents and supporters of development of Canada's vast oil sands.
Environmentalists concerned about the carbon footprint of the oil sands have seen the decision as the most important President Barack Obama will make on climate change.
Proponents say the $5.3 billion project would pour capital into the dismal economy, provide thousands of jobs, and hasten North American energy independence.
"The fact the administration is taking its time suggests ... that it wants to succeed with an airtight story that pleases the primary concerns of both sides," said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners in Washington.
The administration could be figuring out how to balance environmental actions, such as getting tough on coal plant and vehicle emissions, with the impact of pipeline, if it ultimately approves Keystone. Book estimated a final decision would not come till the end of June.
The delay is painful in Canada which is suffering persistent, discounted prices for its oil because tight pipeline capacity. The premier of the Western Canadian province of Alberta warned last week that it faced a $6 billion revenue shortfall due to current pipeline constraints.
Forget the national interest or national security, there are greenies that must be placated. The primary environmental objection to the pipeline appears to be that it will make fuel cheaper - which will have a detrimental effect on the development of solar, wind, and other green energy sources. Never mind about jobs, or energy independence. An energy policy should have as its goal, not the production of energy, but the destruction of the fossil fuel industry.
Canada is not going to wait around forever. The further delay in approving the pipeline will only convince the Canadians that partnering with China on the project would have fewer headaches. Perhaps this is the administration's hope - that Canada will sove their political problem for them. If so, such cynicism by the administration will cost us dearly in the end.