The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline before deciding whether to issue a permit.
That could push a decision about the controversial oil pipeline until after the midterm elections in November.
The State Department is citing a recent decision by a Nebraska judge that overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state. The State Department says that created uncertainty and ongoing litigation.
The government is not saying how much longer the review will take. But it says the process isn't starting over.
The pipeline has become a politically fraught issue. Republicans criticize President Barack Obama for taking too long to decide. The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the border between the U.S. and Canada
Congressman Lee Terry released the following statement after the announcement.
“Yesterday, the President had the audacity to stand at the podium at the White House press office and lecture Republicans in Congress about the need to make tough decisions. But today, he punted a tough decision in the name of political expediency," Terry said.
“It’s shameful that as we begin spring construction season, that hundreds of my constituents will be denied an opportunity to go to work on a project that will help secure America’s energy future solely because the President wants to placate his political base in an election year.”
Jane Kleeb with Bold Nebraska responded to 10/11 on Twitter. She says this is a "huge victory."
"TransCanada loses South Dakota permit June 20. They have no Nebraska legal route. Pipeline collapses own weight," Kleeb said.
The Prime Minister of Canada released a statement in response to news that the public comment period for the Keystone XL project has been extended.
"We are disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL. This project will create tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, will enhance the energy security of North America, has strong public support, and the U.S. State Department has, on multiple occasions, acknowledged it will be environmentally sound."