HELENA — Montana's elected officials condemned a new delay Friday in the decision whether to approve construction of an oil pipeline from Canada that will run through the eastern part of the state.
The U.S. State Department said it is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline, but declined to say how much longer.
Reaction was swift from Democrats and Republicans in Montana who want the pipeline built.
Democratic U.S. Sen. John Walsh called on President Barack Obama to show leadership and end the uncertainty by making a decision.
Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, who is Walsh's likely opponent in November's Senate election, accused the Obama administration of basing its decision on politics.
"President Obama has made it abundantly clear that he will do everything possible to block this job-creating project," Daines said.
The pipeline has been pending for five years, Gov. Steve Bullock said.
"If we made decisions on permits this way in Montana, our economy would grind to a halt," he said.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said it is time for the U.S. government to approve building a pipeline with respect for private-property rights and to the highest safety standards.