In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Canada's foreign minister, John Baird put things plainly:
"The time for Keystone is now. I'll go further - the time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it's not the right one. We can't continue in this state of limbo.”
The decision is President Obama’s to make, and as David Ljunggren of Reuters writes, he:
... is under heavy pressure from environmental activists to veto the northern leg, and Washington seems in no hurry, despite the growing irritation in Ottawa. Canada is the largest single supplier of energy to the United States.
The State Department issued a largely favorable initial environmental impact assessment in March 2013, which was followed by a public comment period. On paper, at least, the department should have issued an updated impact assessment and then a final recommendation by the end of 2013.
But the timetable has slipped badly, and political observers expect Obama will act later this year, possibly after midterm congressional elections on Nov. 4.
The timing, of course, is sheer coincidence.