A new report by the State Department has raised no major environmental objections to a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the southern coast of the United States.
The report released Friday stops short of recommending whether the Keystone pipeline should be built.
The White House said late Friday the report is not the final step before the pipeline's construction.
Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, said a decision on whether the project will be in the "national interest" will be made only after "careful consideration" of the State Department report, input from other agencies, and comments from the public.
With 11 volumes of analysis, the State Department's final report on the pipeline reaches the same conclusion as its draft report did last March -- that the project is not likely to affect the pace of development of Canada's oil sands.
The report moves the Obama administration closer to a final decision on whether to approve the program after more than five years of deliberation.
The proposed 1,900 kilometer pipeline would join with other pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day to the Texas Gulf Coast from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.
The multi-billion-dollar project has become the focus of intense controversy, with environmentalists saying it will contribute to climate change and supporters saying it will help the United States to achieve energy independence.