TORONTO (AP) — The head of the Canadian company behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline denied Tuesday that political motivation drove its decision to ask the U.S. government to delay consideration of the project.

TransCanada’s request that the State Department suspend its review of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline could delay any decision until the next U.S. president takes office in 2017, potentially leaving the fate of the controversial project in the hands of a more supportive Republican administration.

The request comes as many anticipate President Barack Obama will reject the project, which has been a flashpoint in the debate over climate change and source of friction between the United States and Canada. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, opposes the pipeline but the Republican candidates support it.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the State Department is considering TransCanada’s request, but added that Obama intends to make a decision about the pipeline before leaving office. Earnest said it was important to consider what could be motivating TransCanada’s request.


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