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Obama puts Keystone pipeline on hold, decries 'rushed and arbitrary' deadline

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“I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil,” he said.

House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio reacted quickly to news of Obama's decision, characterizing it as “selling out American jobs for politics” and saying TransCanada would be forced to rely further on China as a consumer of its exported oil.

“The president was given the authority to block this project only – and only – if he believes it’s not in the national interest of the United States. Is it not in the national interest to create tens of thousands of jobs here in America with private investment?” Speaker Boehner said. “The president has said he’ll do anything that he can to create jobs. Today that promise was broken.”

The Keystone XL project is far from resolved, as TransCanada is allowed to resubmit its permitting application, which the company says it will have ready by September or October.

Following Obama’s decision, the company announced it will work with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to determine a possible new route to avoid running the pipeline over portions of the Ogallala Aquifer, a major source of fresh water for drinking and agriculture that runs under several states in the US heartland.

Last year, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, asked Obama to block the pipeline as outlined in its current proposal, but said he would support the project if a new route were developed to avoid such sensitive agricultural terrain.

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