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Reuters, Published February 19 2014

Obama says climate weighs on Keystone and other decisions

TOLUCA, Mexico - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday his administration needed to follow its established process to decide whether to allow the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from Canada to go ahead, stressing that concerns about climate change needed to be at the forefront of government decisions.

"I said previously that how Keystone impacted greenhouse gas emissions would affect our decision, but frankly it has to affect all of our decisions at this stage," Obama told a news conference concluding a North American summit.

The U.S. government has been studying TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline since 2008, but its review recently entered a new stage during which agencies and the public can weigh in before Obama makes his final call about whether the project is in the national interest.

That could still take months.

A Nebraska court ruling on Wednesday created another snag for the project, but Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were not asked about the judgment on the process used to approve the route in that state.

The drawn-out process has created friction between Canada and the United States.

"I know it's been extensive and at times, I'm sure Stephen feels, a little too laborious," Obama said.

Harper told reporters at the news conference that a recent U.S. State Department report showed the pipeline would not accelerate climate change.

"In terms of climate change, I think the State Department report was pretty definitive on that particular issue," Harper said.