Kerry staying ‘far away’ from Keystone pipeline review — for now

Kerry spoke in response to a question from Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) about State’s years-long review of the Keystone project, which would bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands over the border and down to Gulf Coast refineries.

Salmon, an advocate of the project, asked why the Obama administration “continues to stall” when it comes to a permit decision for TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline.

The project has been under consideration for years, and the State Department is taking public comment on a supplemental environmental review that was released in draft form on March 1, the latest of multiple reviews.

“There is no stalling going on. The law is being followed. We are just following the law,” Kerry said. “We have a procedure,” he said, noting the various steps in the formal review process.

Salmon and other advocates of the project were buoyed by the draft State Department review, which found that approving it would not have much effect on the rate of expansion of oil sands development, dealing a blow to critics.

Green groups fighting the Keystone pipeline have argued that the project will be a catalyst for a major expansion of greenhouse gas-intensive oil sands production.