The company that wants to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline asked the U.S. government on Monday to suspend review of its permit, kicking final approval to the next administration.

The project has been under review at President Obama's State Department for seven years, and has become a political football between Republicans and Democrats. Obama was widely expected to reject it.

Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer, sent a letter to the Secretary of State John Kerry asking the agency to put its permit review on hold, telling Kerry that the company will pursue approval of the project at the state level in Nebraska.

The proposed route for the pipeline through Nebraska had been challenged in court several years ago, during which time the Obama administration said it would suspend approval of the project until the challenge had been resolved. The Nebraska Supreme Court in January overturned a lower court ruling that struck down the route.

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