"We're talking the beginning of summer at the earliest," said the source, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the TransCanada Corp project, which has been pending for more than four and a half years. "It's not weeks until the final decision. It's months."
Here's the most important bit from the piece:
"The fact the administration is taking its time suggests ... that it wants to succeed with an airtight story that pleases the primary concerns of both sides," said Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners in Washington.
...which is to say that, whatever he decides in the end, Obama has no reason to short-circuit the process; deciding before the game has been played out would, in the case of a yes decision, inflame environmentalists, who will say that he has caved to the oil industry.
In fact I would not bet on a decision this year. Finding a new route that is empirically safer than the old is not as easy as it sounds.