Keystone pipeline review gives Obama, State Department an out

|By:, SA News Editor

The Nebraska judge’s decision throwing out the Keystone XL (TRP -1.2%) pipeline route in the state appears to give Pres. Obama precisely what he hoped for: political cover to delay the politically sensitive decision past the 2014 midterm elections.

Yesterday's decision invalidated legislation that let Nebraska's governor approve the route and bypass the state Public Service Commission; now the project will need commission approval, a process that by state law can take seven months.

Putting off a decision lets Obama avoid angering voters in energy-rich states if he decides to back environmentalists and reject the project, and Keystone foes are optimistic that a review by the state commission would be much more rigorous than the process followed by the governor.

Also: Q4 earnings.