It seems a foreign oil company dictated to John Kerry and Mr. Obama how, when, and why they should approve the oil pipeline. For more, see here.
Seems like a case of regulatory capture:
Regulatory capture occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.
Regulatory capture is a form of government failure, as it can act as an encouragement for firms to produce negative externalities. The agencies are called “captured agencies”. Via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture