Obama delayed a final decision on Keystone in 2011, punting the politically thorny decision until after the presidential election. The State Department, which must review the 1,700-mile pipeline because it crosses an international border, is in the final stages of preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) on the project. An earlier EIS found that it would have minimal adverse effects along its route.
Environmentalists oppose Keystone due to greenhouse gas emissions from energy-intensive oil sands projects and warn of the potential for devastating spills. They have held a series of rallies outside the White House in opposition to the project, and are planning another large-scale demonstration for Feb. 17. While the environmental movement is dead-set against Keystone, many of the president’s union allies favor it, due to the large number of construction jobs it would likely create.
The American Petroleum Institute support the Keystone XL because of the jobs, economic benefits and energy security that come with building pipeline.
TransCanada has assured Nebraska environmental officials that the chances of a spill would be minimized and that the company would assume all responsibility for a cleanup in case of an accident.
(The Hill, 1/22/2013, NYT, 1/22/2013))