A project that would supply crude oil from Canada to oil refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast was put on hold.
On Thursday, the White House delayed the Keystone Pipeline project for another year.
The U.S. government is holding the project as it looks for alternate routes around the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska, which supplies water to about one-third of the country.
Federal government spokesmen said the delay is not a response to growing opposition from environmentalists in the area.
The TransCanada Corporation proposed the 1,700 mile pipeline, which some said would reduce the United States' reliance on oil from the Middle East.
"It is a national security issue. Having a secure resource such as the pipeline is going to give us, it's just going to help us," said Howard Hirs, a professor at the University of Houston.
The project is backed by oil companies and energy unions, along with Houstonians whose livelihood depends on the port.
"The more oil we have to refine, the more jobs for everybody around here," said Eric Bradshaw, who works at the Port of Houston.
But a delay or a cancellation would not have a major impact on the Houston economy.
"Shouldn't be any affect at all on Houston. That oil is coming to the refineries on gulf coasts from other markets, other locations," said Hirs.
An environmental review of the portion of the pipeline passing through Nebraska will take 15 months. After the review, industry experts believe the project will be approved.