Keystone Oil Pipeline Clears Major US Hurdle

It passes State Department's environmental review
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2014 2:31 PM CST
Keystone Oil Pipeline Clears Major US Hurdle
In this Dec. 3, 2012, file photo, crews work on construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline near County Road 363 and County Road 357, east of Winona, Texas.   (AP Photo/The Tyler Morning Telegraph, Sarah A. Miller)

Environmentalists are going to hate this one: A State Department review of the controversial Keystone oil pipeline raises no major environmental objections, reports the New York Times. The report concludes that the proposed pipeline from Canada to Texas would not affect global greenhouse gas emissions in a significant way, reports the Washington Post. This doesn't mean the project is now a slam-dunk, but the environmental assessment was seen as one of its biggest remaining hurdles.

President Obama has said that he would sign off on the pipeline only if it didn't "significantly exacerbate" carbon pollution, and the report seems to satisfy that requirement. So what's next? John Kerry and his State Department now must consider other factors beyond the environment—the economic impact, relations with Canada, etc.—in making a final decision. As one State official tells the Post: The report "does not answer the broader question about how a decision on this potential pipeline fits in with broader national and international efforts to address climate change and climate priorities or other questions of foreign policy or energy security." Eight separate agencies have three months to weigh in, reports the Wall Street Journal. (More TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline stories.)

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