I’m wondering if the State Department official managed to get this out with straight face. Via Reuters:

The U.S. government shutdown is making it harder for the State Department to review the Keystone XL pipeline permit process, a State Department official said on Thursday, which could delay President Barack Obama’s decision on the project. …

The State Department has multi-year funding, which allows it to continue work on the environmental review. But the federal government has been in a partial shutdown since October 1; officials at other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior, are unable to weigh in on the review as they did before the shutdown. …

The official would not say how long any delay on the application process would last. TransCanada initially applied for a permit more than five years ago.

Well, the administration has managed to whip up plenty of exaggerated and/or utterly fake reasons why the Keystone pipeline’s northern extension should most definitely have been delayed until now; why not seize on yet another fake reason when it comes readily along? It’s almost laughable, the ways in which they’re still bravely pretending that they have anything left to “deliberate” over except the eventual and inevitable political fallout, except that the jobs, wealth, and pipeline infrastructure updates on which we’re currently missing out aren’t funny at all.

Anyhow. That was a snippet of news I missed in the midst of the shutdown last week, and the word out now is that TransCanada is anticipating a decision from the Obama administration this spring, via Bloomberg:

TransCanada Corp. (TRP), Canada’s second-largest pipeline company by market value, expects a U.S. ruling on the Keystone XL pipeline in the first quarter of 2014.

The current U.S. government shutdown isn’t causing a “material delay” in the State Department’s review of the $5.3 billion pipeline, Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada’s president of energy and oil pipelines, said today at a conference in Calgary, where the company is based. TransCanada expects a final environmental impact statement from the department “this fall,” he said. …

U.S. mid-term elections next year pose a larger threat to a Keystone XL decision than the U.S. government shutdown, Pourbaix said.

“Obviously this is a political file,” Pourbaix said. “Sometimes big important issues get tabled in elections.”

I would suggest to TransCanada that they get used to disappointment, except, oh wait — they already are.