The proposed $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline will have to wait until after the Presidential election.
Movement on the 1,700 mile line will not begin until early 2013 when regulators say they will have assessed the proposal. At that time the pipeline will face scrutiny from its opponents: the environmentalists.
For now Obama will upset the labor movement—a large group of Americans who believe that the pipeline will create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The pipeline is expected to create 20,000 jobs in the near term, although many jobs would be temporary or tied to corresponding businesses
Overall, according to a Gallup Poll, Americans favor the pipeline. Gallup reported that 57 percent of Americans are in support of the project, 29 percent do not support the project, and 14 percent had no opinion. The poll discovered that Republicans are almost twice as likely as Democrats to want pipeline approval and that half of Independents approve.
A politically divisive project, Keystone XL has been a constant battle in Congress. The proposal from TransCanada Corporation for building the pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico, first made in 2005, needs approval from Obama because it crosses an international border. The Republicans in Congress inserted a provision on the pipeline in the payroll tax extension bill late last year, but in January, Obama rejected TransCanada’s permit entirely. However, the administration is allowing TransCanada to reapply for the permit it needs.
Obama declined the project in January based on procedural reasons—the state of Nebraska rejected the line’s path, pointing out that it went through environmentally sensitive areas. The President asked the stakeholders to create a new route and to resubmit the proposal.
TransCanada has redrawn its pathway and submitted a new application for consideration to the U.S. Department of State. Almost everything about the project has been approved all but the small area that was redirected in Nebraska. Although Nebraska is said to now be on board, the state hasn’t formally offered an okay for the new route.
According to Gallup, almost seven in 10 Midwesterners want government approval for the pipeline and 61 percent of residents in the South support it, too—the pipeline would travel through the Midwest and the South. Americans in the West and East are less likely to approve.
TransCanada has let it be known that it will develop its tar sands and if such fuel does not head to the United States, the raw products will instead get shipped to and refined in Asia.