Obama decision on Keystone XL pipeline may come in 'a few months'

Although U.S. President Barack Obama recently told Prime Minister Stephen Harper not to inquire about the Keystone XL pipeline, he reportedly said to governors on Monday that he expects a decision soon. 

The controversial project by Calgary-based TransCanada Pipelines would carry bitumen oil from Alberta's tar sands to refineries in Texas. 

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a pro-pipeline Republican, said she pressed Obama on whether he would approve the pipeline, and the President "[said] he anticipates an answer one way or the other in a couple months." 

The pipeline hit a snag recently in the state of Nebraska, where a district court declared a state law backing Keystone XL "unconstitutional". The law, the court ruled, improperly helped to give TransCanada eminent domain powers within the state. Even if the pipeline is approved by Obama, the company may still have to convince landowners in the U.S. who have not come to a settlement for land use.

TransCanada has been accused of non-compliance with pipeline engineering code by Evan Vokes, a former engineer with the company who said the company was using substandard pipeline welding and inspection practices. The National Energy Board released its final audit for the company's pipelines integrity program yesterday, which validated many of Vokes' complaints from 2011. 

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