President Barack Obama told governors at a White House meeting Monday that he expects to decide on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada in the next couple of months, two Republican governors said.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who chairs the National Governors Association and supports Keystone, said she asked Obama about the pipeline at a meeting with about 40 governors.
Obama told her he expects a decision “in the next couple of months,” but didn’t offer a specific timetable, Fallin and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said.
Obama’s comments were the most specific he has been in recent months about the 1,100-mile pipeline, which has become a high-profile symbol of the political debate over climate change.
Pipeline supporters, including lawmakers from both parties and many business and labor groups, say the project would create thousands of jobs and reduce the need for oil imports from Venezuela and other politically turbulent countries.
Heineman, who supports the pipeline, said he was “pleased that we’re finally going to get to a decision” on a project that has lingered for more than five years.
“This is very significant. It’s been at least a year since I sent my approval to the president for our particular route (through Nebraska), and it’s taken even longer than that on the federal level,” Heineman said in an interview.