Montana officials are condemning a new delay in the decision whether to approve construction of an oil pipeline from Canada.
The U.S. State Department said Friday it is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline.
Part of the pipeline would run through Montana, and reaction was swift from Democrats and Republicans.
Democratic U.S. Sen John Walsh called on President Barack Obama to show leadership and end the uncertainty by making a decision.
Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, who is Walsh's likely opponent in November's Senate election, accused the Obama administration of basing its decision on politics.
Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock says the pipeline has been pending for five years and that Montana's economy would grind to a halt if he made decisions that way.
Bullock released the following statement in response to the Obama Administration’s further delay in approving the Keystone XL Pipeline:
“I am very disappointed in today’s decision by the Obama Administration to once again unnecessarily delay construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This project will be a shot in the arm to our economy by creating much-needed jobs, and will advance our domestic energy security. This has been pending for over 5 years. If we made decisions on permits this way in Montana, our economy would grind to a halt. At a time when our national unemployment rate remains near 7%, Montanans demand decisive action from Washington, DC, not further delays.”
Walsh also release a statement on President Obama's decision to postpone a decision on the Keystone Pipeline:
“It’s unacceptable for the Obama Administration to continue to delay this project. Montanans want good-paying jobs, a safer way to transport natural resources and a path away from dependence on Middle East oil. Americans have waited long enough. It’s time for the President to show the leadership Montanans deserve and make a decision because continued uncertainty doesn't help our nation."
Senator Jon Tester released the following statement in response to the State Department’s decision to extend the comment period for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
“I’ve long supported the Keystone XL Pipeline and continue to support building it with respect for private property rights and to the highest safety standards. It is time for the administration to approve building the Keystone pipeline, an important step in getting Montana oil to market and securing our nation’s energy independence.”