By Laura Barron-Lopez - 07/08/14 10:14 AM EDT
Industry groups are pressing Secretary of State John Kerry to resume and complete the final review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline that his department halted earlier this year.
In a letter sent Tuesday, 44 industry groups asked to meet with Kerry to discuss the pipeline and answer any questions he might have about the $5.4 billion project.
"We write today to request the State Department immediately complete the Keystone XL Pipeline National Interest Determination (NID) process and grant the final approval on the presidential cross-border permit," the letter adds.
The department had 14 days left in its national interest review of the pipeline, but stopped the clock in April to better understand ongoing litigation in Nebraska, which has placed a section of Keystone's route in question.
Environmentalists, ranchers and farmers in Nebraska challenged the route of the pipeline, claiming it puts their livelihoods and communities at risk.
In the letter, the industry groups argue that multiple environmental impact statements by State have found that the pipeline is safe and would not drastically contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
"The issue of our national interest will not be affected or changed by the outcome of the Nebraska decision," the letter states.
But with the latest delay in State's review, it is unlikely that President Obama will make a decision on the fate of the pipeline before early 2015.