Nuland’s comments confirm a Reuters report last week, which cited an unnamed U.S. official saying there might be a delay.
Also Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed — in a somewhat roundabout way — that the fate of the pipeline ultimately rests with President Obama.
“Well, it's his administration, so I don't think you'd see a situation where a decision is made by his administration that he doesn't support,” Carney said at a separate briefing, adding: “I can assure you that this decision, that this determination will reflect the president's views.”
Obama — in an interview with a Nebraska TV station Tuesday — strongly suggested that he will make the final decision, and discussed the criteria with which the administration is evaluating the project.
“The State Department is running the process and it comes up with a determination. But all of the criteria the president cited in that same interview yesterday ... that have to be considered, and that's public health, national security, jobs and the economy, all of these criteria — he expects to be considered as part of this process, he knows will be considered,” Carney said.
“You can expect that the decision that is reached will reflect his views,” he concluded.