Salazar on Keystone pipeline: ‘Really nothing’ Obama administration ‘can do’ [VIDEO]

Nicholas Ballasy | Senior Video Reporter

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told The Daily Caller that there is currently “nothing” that the State Department or “anybody” in the Obama administration can do on the Keystone XL Pipeline project until TransCanada files an application.

Following his speech at the National Press Club, TheDC asked Salazar if he agreed with former President Bill Clinton that the U.S. should “embrace” the Keystone Pipeline.

“The president has moved and directed us to work very hard on the southern portion of the keystone pipeline,” Salazar told TheDC Tuesday.

“The company, TransCanada, whom I have met with, still is in the process of filing their application before the State Department so there’s really nothing that the State Department or anybody in the administration can do until an application is filed.”

According to its website, TransCanada remains “fully committed to the construction of the 1,897-km (1,179-mile) Keystone XL Pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska [the northern segment].”

“We will re-apply for a Presidential Permit and expect a new application to be processed in an expedited manner, making use of the exhaustive record compiled over the past three plus years of regulatory review to allow for an in-service date of 2015.”

TransCanada also “anticipates approval of the Presidential Permit application — which is required as the pipeline will cross the Canada/U.S. border — in the first quarter of 2013, after which construction will quickly begin.”

In January, President Obama rejected the pipeline project’s northern extension into Canada, but blamed congressional Republicans for creating an artificial, unrealistic deadline to approve the extension.

“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people,” he said in a statement.

“I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”

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