The federal government announced Thursday it would hold off on a final decision regarding the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, allowing time to plot a course through Nebraska that doesn't go through the Sandhills or over the Ogallala Aquifer.

Count Tom Weis unimpressed.

The Colorado bicyclist rolled through Lincoln on Saturday, part of his ride from southern Canada to Texas. He had harsh words for President Barack Obama and his administration, calling the delay "a deeply cynical political ploy."

Weis and about a dozen pipeline protesters rode their bikes from Cooper Park to the Capitol, where they met up with an Occupy Lincoln rally.

About a month into his journey along the proposed Keystone route, Weis said his electric-powered yellow tricycle is gathering attention and support for the anti-pipeline movement.

But he fears Thursday's news, which came after the Nebraska legislature was called into special session, will cause the pipeline issue to fade.

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"It's more important now than ever that we keep the pressure on," Weis said. "Now is the critical moment."

David Schoenmaker, a Lincoln cyclist who rode behind Weis, called Thursday's announcement good news. But he remains unsure of whether the pipeline, which would take oil sands from Alberta through Nebraska to refineries in Texas, is a good idea.

"I still have concerns," he said.

Reach Mitch Smith at 402-473-2655 or msmith@journalstar.com.

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