US President Barack Obama on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, saying he could not vouch for its safety by a deadline set by Congress.
A law by the rival Republican Party forced the Obama administration to make a decision by late February, making him choose between the concerns of environmentalists and proponents who say the project will create jobs.
"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," Obama 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," he said.
Environmentalists fear an accident along the proposed 1,700-mile (2,700-kilometer) route to bring crude oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.
But Republican lawmakers, the oil industry and the Canadian government say the project will create jobs and offer a stable energy supply from a friendly country.