Report: Clinton passes on Keystone question

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined to weigh in on the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline during a private speech Wednesday night, according to CNN.

The news network quoted multiple people in the room saying Clinton deferred because it would be unfair to comment on a question that is being reviewed by the State Department, which she previously led. 

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Following an environmental impact study released in late January, the State Department is expected to make a recommendation about the pipeline to the White House. The administration is currently in a 90-day review. 

According to CNN, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States Frank McKenna asked about the project after her speech at the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Women’s Leadership Circle. 

“She immediately deferred to answer the question on Keystone,” said Iain Black, the president of the Vancouver Board of Trade.

He added: “She said it just wouldn’t be appropriate to comment. She chose her words really carefully.”

CNN quoted others describing Clinton’s words. 

"She said it would not be appropriate for her to comment because that decision is the responsibility for the State Department, an organization she once led,” another guest, Eileen Loewen, said.

President Obama told a group of governors last month that he would make a decision on Keystone in the next couple of months, according to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

The administration did not confirm that timeline and has referred questions about it to the State Department, which is ultimately in charge of the decision.