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Obama says sees Keystone decision in next couple months

Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:37pm EST

WASHINGTON Feb 24 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama told governors at a White House meeting on Monday that he expects to make a decision on whether to allow the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from Canada in the next couple of months, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin told reporters.

Fallin, a Republican who strongly supports the pipeline, said she asked Obama whether he would use his executive powers to approve the pipeline, which has been under government review since 2008.

“He did come back and say that he anticipates an answer one way or the other in a couple months,” Fallin said after the governors met with Obama.

Opponents say the pipeline would exacerbate climate change by supporting carbon-intensive development of Canada’s oil sands crude. Supporters in Congress and the energy industry say Keystone would improve U.S. energy security and create thousands of jobs.

The State Department is gathering comments from other government agencies and the public on TransCanada’s $5.4 billion project. The comment period lasts until the end of April.

Then Secretary of State John Kerry will make a recommendation to Obama on whether the project is in the national interest. Obama has indicated he will make the ultimate decision.

The White House had not said how long the review will take.

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