Keystone XL review drags on 5 times longer than average, despite US claims of standard process

12-Aug-2015 WASHINGTON (AP) — For six and a half years, the White House has had a quick comeback to questions about its yet-to-be-announced decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline: Talk to the State Department.

Under a George W. Bush-era executive order, oil pipelines crossing U.S. borders require a presidential permit, setting off a government-wide review that the State Department coordinates. President Barack Obama, in no rush to anger either environmentalists or energy advocates, has deflected criticism about the long-delayed decision by arguing that his administration is merely carrying out his Republican predecessor's directive in the ordinary way.

But an Associated Press review of every cross-border pipeline application since 2004 shows that the Keystone review has been anything but ordinary.

Since April 2004, when Bush signed his order, the federal government has taken an average of 478 days to give a yes or no to all other applications — less than a year and a half. The company hoping to build Keystone has been waiting for a decision for nearly 7 years — or more than five times the average. (by JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press)