Whatever Happened to the Keystone Pipeline?

Association of Construction & Development
January 29, 2014 — 1,615 views  

The Keystone XL pipeline project has been at the heart of American environmental politics for years now, and even as US midterm elections loom large over President Obama, it has yet to be seen whether there will be a change in his stance on the project. It must be noted that there has been intense opposition from several environmental groups to Keystone XL.

What Exactly is the Keystone XL Project?

The pipeline that has been planned will be a 1,179-mile long, 36-inch wide one from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. The pipeline will carry crude oil and is touted as a crucial project that will fortify the economy. As many as 800,000 crude barrels will be shifted from refineries on the Gulf Coast every single day. This move is expected to lower the US’ dependence on oil imports from other nations, but detractors say the transport of heavy crude from Canada, and the oil extraction that follows will emit greenhouse gases.

Both the youth and environmentalists form a major segment of Obama’s constituency, and his approval to the project may take away their support. It has been five years since the project has been proposed and both Canadian authorities and several Republicans and even Democrats in conservative states are awaiting a decision.

A Yes or a No – When Will it Happen?

Even as Obama stays mum on the final decision, when the decision will be made has also been the subject of much speculation. Would it be made before November or after the midterms; if it is by summer, then, the 2014 campaigns would bear the impact. If it is made after November, it would definitely affect political campaigns in 2016, with the presidential race.

Both supporters and detractors have, in the past, been led to believe that the decision will go in their favour. When Obama announced a carbon emissions cut plan back in June last year, he said it was only if the pipeline does not increase carbon pollution that the pipeline would be in the nation’s interest.

What if he supports the Pipeline?

If Obama says yes, he will be appealing to voters in Alaska, Montana, and Louisiana, which are huge energy producing states, and where livelihoods depend on the energy sector. Approval in these states would silence the Republicans; also if there is no decision forthcoming, Canada has alternate plans that will then boost Asia. Then, there is the question of jobs – Obama is already under pressure on this front, and this project may provide several jobs, though the numbers are being debated. 

Association of Construction & Development